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Articles by Sarah Fisher

Why I Chose DePaul

The official College Decision Day was a few weeks ago, so congratulations to all of you who have committed to DePaul University! Go Class of 2021!

Orientation
At DePaul's orientation

When I think back to the season where I had to decide on a college, I remember it being really exciting. I couldn’t wait to choose the school I would attend for the next four years! By the time I had to make my final decision, I had narrowed my list down to two schools: Ohio State University and DePaul University. Ohio State was cheaper, closer to my family, and home to the infamous Buckeyes. However, DePaul was in Chicago, had the exact program that I (at the time) wanted, and had a special quality about it. I felt really pursued and desired by DePaul, something I never got from a giant state school, and knew that the four years I would experience at DePaul would be valued by its faculty and staff. I obviously chose DePaul, and I am so glad that I did.

DePaul has been the place that has enabled me to grow, both in my academics and in my convictions. It has been the place that has helped me find my passion and provided me with professors who have been strong influences and knowledgeable resources. It has given me lifelong friends and has molded me into an adult. I am extremely thankful for my time at DePaul, especially now that I am about to graduate. For those who are about to attend, you are lucky! Good luck!

DemonTHON

If you are a DePaul student, then you have for sure heard of DemonTHON. For those who don’t know, DemonTHON is DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Participants raise money throughout the year through fundraising, canning, and donations. Then whole thing culminates in the dance marathon. That’s 24 hours of standing, dancing, and cheering for the sweet little kiddos who aren’t able to stand or dance because of illness. This year’s dance marathon is from 5pm on April 28 to 5pm on April 29 – which, if you are counting correctly, is in TWO WEEKS. 

I participated in DemonTHON last year, and it was an incredible experience. My legs and feet have never been as sore as they were during that 24 hours, but it was so worth it after seeing how much money we raised for the kids. Last year, the organization hit the one million dollar mark that had been raised and donated to Lurie’s hospital. It was awesome to be a part of, and I am similarly excited for this year. 
 
DemonTHON
Part of Cru's DemonThon team this year 
The 24 hours are split up into six different theme hour chunks. Some of the theme hours this year are Harry Potter​, Nightmare on Sheffield, and Battle of the Decades. These theme hours provide games and activities which make the time pass quickly. We also get to learn the Morale Dance, a ten minute long dance that is performed every hour of the marathon. Throughout the event, we hear from and meet families who have directly benefited from the money raised for DemonTHON. It is so inspirational to hear the strength and hope that these kids and their families have in the midst of scary illnesses. It is a jam-packed, fun-filled, emotional 24 hours that I am really looking forward to participating in again!

If you are a DePaul student and have not signed up yet, now is your chance! Join a team, raise your $250 fundraising goal, and dance for the kids!

Writing a Thesis

As some of you may know, I am currently in the process of writing a thesis paper as my capstone project for the Honors Program. It is a lengthy process (my thesis will be around 30-40 pages), but a rewarding one. Thankfully, the Honors Program does not throw you into this project unprepared. The Honors Program offers a 2-credit class (HON 300) during Fall Quarter, taught by Nancy Grossman, the Associate Director of the Honors Program, to give guidance on the final project.

I am so thankful I took this class, and if you are remotely considering writing a thesis, you should take it too! It is a small class (my class had 12 people) and if you are planning on writing a thesis, everything that is due during the quarter would be due anyway. In order to enroll in the capstone thesis project, you have to submit a thesis proposal, which includes an abstract, annotated bibliography, and proposal statement for the project. Throughout the quarter in HON 300, those components are due, so you have the opportunity to work ahead and get feedback on the proposal that you will eventually submit to be approved to write the thesis. Regardless if you take the class, the thesis proposal is due, so it really is to your advantage to enroll in HON 300 (you get credit!).

Studying
Another reason to take the class is that you also get feedback on your topic and thesis statement from your peers. It was really helpful to get constructive criticism on my topic, as I was able to refine it and think about my topic in ways I never would have originally due to the perspectives from my classmates. It was also fun to critique other students’ topics, too!

While writing a thesis paper for the Honors capstone is ambitious and intimidating, it is also a satisfying experience. I know I will be better prepared for graduate school after writing this thesis, and it is definitely something for me to show off and be proud of. Come be ambitious with me!

Post-DemonTHON

Last week, I wrote about the exciting impending event, DemonTHON and this week, I am thrilled to recap the event and talk about what a fun success it was! For those who need a refresher about what DemonTHON is, it is DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon to raise money for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital. Dancers raise money to participate in the event and then stand/dance for 24-hours, For the Kids (DemonTHON's motto). 

The big event was jam-packed with activities, stories, and music that made the 24 hours go by quickly. Each hour all the dancers participated in the Morale Dance, a 10-minute long choreographed dance to a mashup of a bunch of songs. By hour 24, we certainly knew the dance moves! After the Morale Dance, we heard a Miracle Story, a story from families and kids who have been treated and cared for at Lurie’s Hospital. Those were some of my favorite parts because we were able to meet and hear from people who have been positively impacted by the money we’ve raised. It made the sore feet and tiredness so worth it!

The Cru team at DemonTHON. PC: Alex Segall Photography
Each chunk of 4-5 hours had themes, too, like State Fair and 2000’s. Each theme hour gave dancers the opportunity to change into costumes and play themed games. We were fed food donated and catered by businesses all over Lincoln Park, which was great. We also danced a whole lot, which actually helped our feet not hurt. My favorite was the Half Hour Power Hour, which was half an hour filled with constant throwback 90’s and 2000’s music. What a blast!

I do not think I have ever been so tired and sore at the end of the 24 hours, but participating in the event was so worth it. We raised $274,887.77 FTK (for the kids!)! In the five years that DemonTHON has been at DePaul, $1,000,000 has been raised, and that is just absolutely incredible and humbling. I am so proud to have been a part of something so important and inspirational. FTK!

DemonTHON

I had a very long, fun, emotional, physically exhausting, incredibly rewarding weekend: I danced for DemonTHON, DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Throughout the year, DemonTHON ​hosts events around DePaul and Chicago to engage with and raise money for the children being treated at Lurie’s. The entire event is wrapped up at the 24-hour dance marathon, which was this past weekend. For 24 hours, I stood and danced for all the children who can’t. 

I was on the Cru DePaul team and I was so excited for the weekend. To be honest, the thought of being on my feet for 24 hours straight was a little lot daunting, but it is for an amazing cause and I was surrounded by all of my friends. I was most excited to meet and hear the stories of some of the children who have been treated at Lurie’s. They are such an inspiration and have made the entire fundraising adventure and the dance marathon 110% worth the aching feet and tired bodies.

The Cru crew dressed up for Tacky Prom. Don't we look great?
Throughout the year, DemonTHON has hosted events to raise money and to celebrate those who are dancing. My favorite event was Tacky Prom where we dressed up and danced in bad 80’s dresses. It was so fun! DemonTHON has also hosted many bake sales in the Student Center, sold lots of merchandise, and gone canning almost every week, among numerous other fundraisers (where 100% of the profits go to the kids!). So far, in the four years DemonTHON has been at DePaul, students have raised $725,112.23. That’s amazing! I am so happy I get to be a part of something so special that makes such a big difference. I will be writing an update next week talking about how the big event went and how much money we raised. Stay tuned!

Advantages to Your Student ID

One of my favorite parts of going to such a diverse school like DePaul is having friends in so many different fields and majors. I am a Health Sciences major, but some of friends are majoring in Psychology, Finance, Communications, and English. It is so cool to see how close we are even though we all have such different passions and majors.

One of my friends, Trevor, is in the School of Music and is majoring in Vocal Performance. He is passionate about opera and this quarter he had a leading role in Die Fledermaus, a German opera. It was thankfully performed in English as my German skills are pretty lacking. To give a quick insight, the three-act opera in centered around a masquerade ball and is full of disguises, romance, lust, and humor. 

Trevor played the witty friend to the main character and humorously meddled in the lives of his friends to reveal an affair. Trevor and the entire cast did a wonderful job and it was a very entertaining way to spend a Friday night.

I really encourage DePaul students to take advantage of performances like these. With a Student ID, tickets are free and you get the opportunity to see the immense talent of your fellow students. There is so much more, too, that DePaul students unknowingly have access to that is not taken advantage of. Did you know that with a Student ID you get into all of the DePaul athletic events free? There’s even a shuttle bus that takes you down to Allstate Arena to watch the boys’ basketball team play. DePaul has a lot of talented students, whether their passions be in music, athletics, or theater, and it is so cool that we get the opportunities to see their talents be performed. 

Red Cross Club at DePaul

One of the things I really love about DePaul is the amount of clubs and organizations ​it has. That is obvious every September at the Involvement Fair when the Quad is completely packed with students checking out all of the groups DePaul has to offer. I personally love being involved and now that I am a junior, I have found the clubs that I love and am passionate about. I am involved in many, with one of those being the Red Cross Club.

This is a new club that was started at the end of last year. I am on the Executive Board as the treasurer and we have been excited to think about potential events for the upcoming year and how we want to make our mark on campus. We have a few in mind, like a Valentine’s Day Blood Drive and an event where you can create your own first aid kits. During fall quarter we had a Halloween event, too. We walked around Lincoln Park during the city’s Trick or Treat time and instead of asking for candy, we asked for non-perishable food items to donate to the RTW Veteran Center. The RTW Veteran Center helps homeless veterans by supplying three hot meals a day and giving them assistance to get back on their feet. It was super successful and we are thankful to the families of Lincoln Park for being so generous.

Most of the group that went out to collect food items. We definitely adopted the Halloween spirit by dressing up!
Because the Red Cross​ is a national organization, the DePaul Red Cross Club works closer with the Greater Chicago Red Cross Branch. It is a blessing to get advice and support from the Red Cross and also is wonderful because they present us with many opportunities. For example, once registered as a Red Cross volunteer, CPR and First Aid classes are free! What a great opportunity to get certified and use the skills to help people. I personally am excited to see how the Red Cross Club will grow and make a difference on campus this year. ​

Fall Visit Day

Now that I have been at DePaul for a few years, it is always fun to look back on what my life was like as a freshman and how different my life is now. I loved my freshman year, the experiences I had that year have definitely shaped me into the person that I am today. Just recently I was in Munroe Hall, where I lived my freshman year, and it brought back so many good memories. Now that the fall tour groups are starting to make their way around campus, when I see them I always think of my first tour of DePaul. 

My mom and I took a trip out to Chicago to visit DePaul just as I was beginning my senior year of high school. We stayed downtown and I remember that the train was delayed and I was so worried about being late. It was one of my first college experiences and I was already making a bad impression! However, we made it and all was well. Someone who works for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions gave a presentation highlighting all the wonderful qualities about DePaul (and there are many!) and went through how to apply. The presentation, and the information packet that came along with it, were very helpful and answered many questions my family and I had about the school, for example: questions about the residence halls, public safety, and how the quarter system differs from semesters. 

After the presentation, the big group was split into smaller groups and we got a tour of campus. My campus tour guide took us to all the big, main areas: the Student Center, a residence hall, the academic buildings, the library, the dining hall, the fitness center, and the quad. I remember being very overwhelmed at all that he showed us, but campus is actually so easy to navigate. You get the hang of it really quickly and fall in love with the campus almost immediately. After the tour, my mom and I walked around Lincoln Park for a while and checked out what the neighborhood is like. Lincoln Park, too, is amazing and is a safe, great neighborhood to live in. I could not ask for anything better! 

I had a really good experience on my tour and it is what made me come back for another one later in the year. Most, if not all, of my questions were answered, the campus is beautiful, and I truly felt like everyone who I came in contact with was interested in me and my future. I know how great DePaul is and I hope other people will get to have the same wonderful experience that I have had, too. 

The Intricacies of Scheduling

This week is week five of the quarter, and I cannot believe that we are halfway done. I still feel like I am acclimating to my new schedule and teachers, and forming my routine, but we are already almost done with midterms! This weekend, I received an email from one of my academic advisors that included information and instructions on scheduling for next quarter. Now, that is really crazy! I’m still getting a handle on this quarter’s schedule, and I somehow have to think and plan out my schedule for fall quarter which is still five months away? Yikes! Thankfully, DePaul makes it really easy.

First, there is this thing called a Degree Progress Report on our Campus Connect pages, which is a gift sent from God. It shows all the classes and credits that you need to fulfill in order to complete your major/minor. You can also choose a “What If?” option, which allows you add a double major, a minor, or completely change your major, to see what classes you would need to take!
This is my Degree Progress Report. The classes I need to take are highlighted red, the ones I am currently taking in yellow, and the ones I have completed in blue. 

The Degree Progress Report will show how the change would affect what classes you had to take or what electives would need to be fulfilled. I always consult it before I schedule my classes or I make an appointment with my advisor, just to familiarize myself with what I still need to take and how I should accordingly plan. 

To schedule, you add classes into your course cart on Campus Connect. I actually think it is really fun. On the site, you get to search for all the classes available for that quarter and see what professors are teaching. So, I can search for any 200 level Spanish classes to fulfill my Spanish minor, or a specific health class I need to take, or just for a certain professor who I have really liked to see if he or she is teaching any classes in the next quarter. I usually try and come up with two or three prospective schedules to see what I like best and to have as back up just in case a class is full when I try and register for it. 

Every student gets a day and time slot for when they are allowed to register, and it is only then when you can officially register. Upperclassmen, athletes, honors students, and special students (like Pathways kids!) get priority scheduling, while freshmen usually have the last time slots. It’s like a big game. Scheduling can be frustrating and stressful, but it so relieving and kind of exciting when you have registered and get to officially know how the next quarter is going to be. The DePaul advisors are always very helpful and accessible during these few weeks of scheduling, too. There are always questions to be answered, and they truly want us to have the best quarter possible. 

Three Things I Wish I Knew as a DePaul Freshman

My freshman year was a whirlwind of a year. I cannot believe how quickly it went by, particularly the first quarter. Starting college in a bright, new city was exciting and I was blessed to have a great experience last year. I learned a lot my first year of college, academically and personally. Both my younger sister and
cousin are starting college next year and it makes me think of all the things I wish I knew starting my freshman year, especially living for the first time in Chicago. Having made it through my first year, here are a few things I wish I knew coming into DePaul.

1.    Explore Chicago. Chicago is a huge city divided into numerous neighborhoods​. As a new incoming freshman, it is easy to be intimidated by the sheer size of the city. Become familiar with public transportation. Always know how to get back to campus. Go to the famous places and discover the places that are not as well-known. Do not be afraid to take a cab. Visit the lakefront​. Eat a LOT. And most of all, relish the four years that you will get to spend in one of the most beautiful, famous cities in the world.

2.    Don’t worry about making friends. Making friends is probably one of the most nerve-wracking parts of starting college. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and everyone is nervous, whether they seem it or not. College is such a good time to make friends that have different majors ​and plans, and who offer different views on life. The people you meet the first week of school do not necessarily have to become your best friends, either. I still am very good friends with some people I met at the beginning of the year from my classes and dorm​, but I also have wonderful friends that I made during spring quarter or even earlier this year. Think of college as the chance to add on to your friend circle, not having to start completely over. ​

3.    Live in the moment. Looking back, I realize a lot of my freshman year was spent thinking about my future and all the things I had to do to make my future successful. Yes, it is important to have a plan and work hard, but college, especially a college in Chicago, is full so many experiences and memories that you do not want to miss out on. Study hard for your midterm, but also go out to dinner with your friends. Apply for that great internship, but also go see that awesome new movie. College is such a fun time, so enjoy every minute of it.