College goes by really fast. One second you are a freshman learning how to use the train and the next second you are taking your last class. It is bittersweet that my undergraduate experience is coming to a close, but I am happy to say it has been an awesome experience. Even though I was able to do some awesome things in college, here are a few things I wish I had the time to do but sadly didn't:
1) Run the Chicago Marathon
This had been one of my goals since freshman year. If you have ever been to the Chicago Marathon
as a spectator in Grant Park, you would understand how awesome the marathon is. To run a marathon is a huge accomplishment and even though I was unable to do it in college, I hope to be able to accomplish it in the future.
2) Stay at the Ray from open until close
I spend a lot of time at the gym. I always thought it would have been such a cool experience to spend all day there as there is food, study tables, fun people, games and gym equipment. What more do you need in a day?
3) Take a history class
One of the negatives of taking a double major is the fact that you have a lot of requirements that need to be accomplished. Even though DePaul gives you a lot of freedom by taking open electives, I had most of those completed by AP classes. As college has went by so quickly, I have not been able to take a history class which is a subject I am very interested in. I did, however, take a ton of classes that I loved as open electives so I guess there is just not enough time to take everything.
This is just a museum I thought would be an awesome experience, but never got around to seeing it. There are just so many museums in Chicago
(and more coming) that it is really hard to hit all of them.
Being so busy with my major and classes, I was not able to plan a Study abroad trip. I know this will be a regret of mine.
Overall, college goes by fast. I guess I shouldn't be thinking about the things that I didn't do and start thinking about the things that I did do; but, I am writing this so you all don't miss some of the things that I missed out on.
1) You learn more outside of class than inside of class
Compared to high school, the amount of time you spend in a classroom is significantly less. All of this extra time gives you the opportunity try new things and utilize your time the way you want to. You will most likely have the most “free time” than you’ve ever had, and probably ever will. This free time should be used to
find internships, volunte
er, meet new friends, attend guest speakers, do homework, explore the city and
network. I wish I had known this so I could have planned what I wanted to do in my free time. Sure, a large amount of this time is spent doing homework. If I was given the opportunity to freshen up my time management skills, I would have been able to utilize my time better in the early years of my college career.
2) Take advantage of your professors
Your professors are there to help you. You would be in complete shock if you heard what they have done as a professor/ before becoming a professor. As a student you are paying a lot of money to go to college. It is important that you use every resource to improve yourself whether it be in your field of study or in life in general. Professors LOVE when you go and talk to them. I have had some awesome experiences with my
professors and it was all because I had taken the initiative to talk with them.
3) Do what makes you happy
Part of college is finding what you like and what you do not like. It is completely okay to change your major. It is completely okay to try multiple internships and jobs. Change is good. So many people are afraid to change their major and career path. As I said previously, college is about finding what you like. If you don’t like your classes, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. Luckily, DePaul has a ton of majors and classes that you can take while in college.
Chicago’s music scene should be reason enough to move to the city. I love music and have grown to love it even more after moving to Chicago. If you look at current musical artists, many of them are from Chicago. Luckily, there are many ways to get involved in the music scene in Chicago and at DePaul. Here are a few ways my friends and I have gotten involved in DePaul and Chicago’s music scene.
1) Taking music-based classes
DePaul has an amazing music school
. With one of the most well-known programs in the nation, there are many classes that are available for people majoring in music and for people that are not music majors as well. My friend Remy is taking a class exclusively on the Beatles and his experience in the class is a common discussion amongst my friends. Even classes not directly based on music are taught by professors involved in Chicago’s music scene. My sociology professor’s research is on white rappers in Chicago. Hearing him talk about what he has done was very interesting. There are also classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music
if you are interested in learning an instrument.
2) Doing internships
There are many music venues in the city. Some of my friends have had internships at local music venues and have gotten involved in music and sound production both at DePaul and with local studios. My roommate spent most of his summer last year interning at Jeff McClusky and Associates
, which is a huge player in the music scene in the United States.
3) Going to concerts and festivals
Almost any artist stops in Chicago for a concert. This is a great opportunity to see some of your favorite bands play live. We have some awesome venues such as Lincoln Hall
, The Riviera
, and Schubas
to name a few that are just a train ride away from DePaul. I have seen some awesome concerts in the city. Chicago truly is a concert lover’s paradise. In the summer, there are a few concerts that are very popular. There is Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening and Pitchfork that are all nationally renowned festivals and are tons of fun as well.
DePaul, every spring, hosts a concert solely for DePaul students. Some of the most memorable experiences I have had at DePaul have been from FEST
. They have had artists such as Childish Gambino, Lupe Fiasco and Diplo play for DePaul, along with openers such as Portugal the Man.
Overall, the music scene is very vibrant in Chicago and at DePaul. If you have any interest in music, it is very easy for you to become involved in music at DePaul either as a career or as a hobby.
I was reading an article
last week in Time Magazine
that was talking about standardized testing and it got me thinking extensively about the topic with my friends and professors.
Almost every week, I spend around forty hours per week in the library studying for the CPA exam. I will be doing for almost 6 months straight in order to pass the four standardized tests required to become a CPA. It is interesting to think that tests such as these exist and are supposed to grade competency. I am sure many of you are studying for the ACT/SAT to get into college. If someone were to ask you if it is a good test on your academic ability, would you say yes? Most people would say no. I remember studying for days on end for the exam. It does not make much sense to me as it is nearly impossible to test a person’s academic ability based on a test.
This idea coincides with many of the standardized tests that kids and adults take. Our society has become obsessed with standardized tests, with some people being forced to change their entire life over exam scores. Hopefully society will soon learn its lesson and understand that a person should not be judged based on a number.
Luckily, DePaul has the test optional
choice, where if you are not good at taking exams or think your score is not a reflection on your academic ability, you can complete other requirements in lieu of the exam. This is a feature that has been offered for a couple years now through the Office of Admission and it is a great thing to take advantage of, especially if you are displeased with your test scores. Therefore, don’t stress if you don’t have the highest score. Your acceptance should be more than just about your grades and your test scores.
This week, as a way to de-stress from midterms and CPA studying, I decided to go with one of DePaul’s accounting organizations to a game of WhirleyBall
. I initially got introduced to WhirleyBall my freshman year when our resident advisor (RA)
took our hall on an outing to play WhirleyBall. For those of you who do not know what WhirleyBall is, imagine playing basketball using bumper cars. It is honestly as fun as it sounds and is a huge adrenaline rush.
I am someone that really likes basketball; however, because of my size, I am unable to compete against the six foot giants that usually play at the gym. WhirleyBall does not discriminate against height, luckily. This gives me the ability to show how truly good I am at basketball if it was played at the same height level as myself.
One of the largest changes for me coming from high school was the transition from a school on the semester system to the quarter system
. This was because the amount of midterms and finals that the quarter system has is significantly more that at semester schools which can make it seem more stressful. That is why it is very important that you are able to find your methods to de-stress.
I had never heard of WhirleyBall until I had come to DePaul. Thanks to my RA I have learned of a new, cool sport that Chicagoans play. In college, it is pivotal that you find your way to de-stress. There will be times that college will make you want to cry and pull your eyes out. In reality, your professors do this on purpose and use it as a method to challenge you. I personally like it because I know that there always is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I only lived in the residence halls
my freshman year. Of the many things that I remember from my experience, many of them happened in the common areas of the residence hall I lived in.
In all of the residence halls there is at least one kitchen
, with many of them having kitchens on each floor. Even if you are not a fantastic cook, it is really fun to cook or even hang out with people that are cooking. My friends and I tried many times to start traditions such as having pancakes every Sunday in the kitchen, etc. Also, almost every week, we would make cookies and share them with the rest of the residents, who were consistently going in and out of the common area.
There also is a leisure area in each residence hall. The resident advisors
usually post up here during the week and on weekends, having events for the residents. It is also very lively on weekend nights, as people hang out or meet up to watch sports and movies.
The study rooms in the residence halls are also great places to meet people and study. I found the study lounges to be great because there was usually a good amount of people that had similar classes to you so you could work together when you were studying for exams. The residence halls also have printers so you can print your homework without having to break your buck on ink.
My residence hall was a traditional residence hall. This means that instead of having private bathrooms, there is only one male and one female bathroom per floor. The way they are set up is that one third of the bathroom is solely sinks. Almost every single night my friends and I would spend an excessive amount of time (sometimes over an hour) sitting in the sink area talking and waiting for people to swoop in. It really was a social time. I think I brushed my teeth better that year than any other time in my life.
Living in a community such as a residence hall is something that you will probably only experience once in your life. I recommend every student to do it once. It is well worth it and you will meet friends you will have for a lifetime.
Last week I was lucky enough to go to a speech from Jerry Greenfield, one of the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
. It was a very interesting experience hearing Jerry talk about his career and about social entrepreneurship.
A few times a year, the DePaul Activities Board
hosts public speakers to talk to DePaul students. Ranging from famous actors and actresses to prominent businessmen, the group tends to always have interesting speakers on their schedule. One of the great things about these events is that they are all free.
Jerry was a very good speaker. He was very pertinent to college students because Ben and Jerry started their own small business from the ground up. He used unconventional methods when the odds were against the company’s success and was able to transform a mom and pop shop into corporation that distributes nationally.
Most people that know me know that I love sweets; therefore, an event that gives away free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is enticing enough for me in itself. After the event there was an ice cream social and we were able to speak with Jerry about anything we wanted to.
Overall, having speakers like this at DePaul puts our education into perspective by relating what we learn to real life experiences people have had and I am very fortunate to have opportunities such as this.
One of my favorite parts about going to a large university is the ability to create your own schedule
. Every quarter, I have wanted a different weekly schedule based on my job, goals, and lifestyle. DePaul makes it very easy to make your class schedule fit your needs. Here are some examples of ways I have molded my schedule to tailor to my desires:
During my freshman year, I really wanted to get a solid friend group and equalize the social and educational aspects of college. Because of this, I took easier classes that were during the day so I would have the evenings to study and hang out with my friends.
In my sophomore year, I spent part of the time working. Because of this, I molded my school schedule into my work schedule by taking night classes and taking classes only two days a week. This was surprisingly easy to do, and even though I was very busy, I was able to effectively work a job and go to school at the same time. You would be surprised at how many DePaul students do this.
During this year I had some extremely difficult classes to take at DePaul. Knowing this, I molded my schedule so I was taking classes when I was the most focused. Having a large amount of class options, I could schedule my classes so I took my tougher classes in the morning and my easier classes as night classes. I was also able to take a December intersession class so I had a lighter work load during my winter quarter.
My senior year schedule was very interesting. I had to both complete my classes as well as take my CPA exam
. Luckily, DePaul has online classes and December break classes so I could match my study schedule with my school schedule.
All of these things made it so much easier to make my schooling the way I want it to be.
I feel as if I am a very critical person. When it comes to movies, however, I am very easily amused. As long as it has a good story line, I will usually leave the movie and feel that I got the leisure time I wanted. As all people, I have some movies that I love and that truly speak to me. One of those movies on my shortlist is Boyhood
. It brought out a whole plethora of emotions and thoughts. This movie relates to a lot of things that DePaul students face and, without me spoiling the movie, I would like to share them with you:
- At a university, you are going to meet a ton of new people. Remember, you don’t know that person’s life just by looking at them.
This is a common flaw that so many people make. Don’t act as if you know someone well that you have just heard speak once. Let them share their story and listen with open ears.
2. Experiences are what you make of them.
DePaul is going to offer you many experiences. Take advantage of them. Some will teach you amazing lessons and some will just make you angry (like when you get a C in a class). It is important that you reflect on and learn from your experiences.
“Service without reflection is just work” –St. Vincent DePaul
3. It is okay to not know what you want to do.
Honestly, very few people know what they truly want to do in their twenties. Sure, a person may have a direction but this does not mean that they actually know. Go into college with an open mind. DePaul does not discriminate against those who are undecided. Chicago is a fantastic place to find out what you want to do.
Even though I don’t feel that this blog was the best plug for the movie, go watch Boyhood. I hope you like it as much as I did.
Watch the trailer for Boyhood below!
I cannot emphasize enough that the experience you get at DePaul is unlike any other university. Just like people’s preferences between a Mac computer and a Microsoft computer varies, so do people’s preferences regarding universities. Even though you are getting a degree, the route you go to get your degree and the experiences you have vary greatly. Also, like the Mac vs. Microsoft dilemma, people have different thoughts on which is better and there truly is no correct answer. Your school decision is no different. You need to make a decision on what you feel is personally right which may not necessarily be what your counselor tells you.
The reason why I wrote this is due to the fact that school spirit cannot be judged on a 1-100 scale. You come to DePaul and many people are wearing DePaul gear. Does that mean our school has school spirit? Maybe. I don’t know. DePaul’s school spirit comes in a very different form from many other schools. You go to a school with a successful football team and school spirit is driven by their sports team. DePaul’s school spirit comes from the experiences not only students have with the university but from the experiences the community has with DePaul.
My school spirit is directly derived from the experiences I have had as a student. From my awesome classes, professors and friends I have met to the experiences I have had at things such as my service immersion trips and field trips, I have school spirit because what I have gotten from DePaul is more than I had ever imagined.
Even people that have not gone to DePaul have spirit for the university. DePaul stretches way beyond its walls. It floods the workforce with employees, provides thousands of volunteers to needy areas and, creates jobs and educated individuals for the community. I have met many people that had never been to DePaul, but were positively affected in some way by the university. I would not be lying in saying that most people in Chicago are affected in some way by the university.
School spirit is very important. A person needs to have passion in order to truly do something well. This ties directly to their education. DePaul breeds school spirit.
Some people have a really rough time getting to the gym. The excuse that you are too busy is not a good excuse. Every time you think you should go to the gym means your body wants you to go to the gym.
Here are some tips for getting yourself to exercise:
1) Think about it positively
There are so many ways to work out. Everyone thinks they either need to run or lift. It is actually important that you mix up your workouts. Therefore, you should find a few things you ACTUALLY LIKE. Working out should be fun. When you were younger, your parents probably snuck exercise in your schedule by signing you up for soccer or forcing you to play outside. The Ray Meyer Fitness Center has four stories of options for you to choose from. Chicago has unlimited options for you to choose from.
2) Put it in your schedule
If you wake up and plan a specific time to work out, it will motivate you to go. You do not have to work out every day; but, fitting time into your weekly schedule can make it easier for you to go.
3) Eat Healthy
If you are not in the mood to work out, there is a good chance it is because your body is exhausted digesting the food that you ate. Try to focus on eating healthily. It will make you not only more effective in working out but in studying as well.
4) Have a buddy
When you have a workout buddy, it helps to keep each other accountable for working out.
In my opinion, it is easier to work out in a city like Chicago than in a suburb or a rural area because there is a larger workout community and there are more places to run, work out, etc. A very large amount of students work out at DePaul and I really enjoy the community of people that I have met at the gym and have become friends with.
Below is a video of
DePaul’s gym doing the
One word that you hear a lot in college is network. On your path through college, you meet tons of people. All of these people have different importance
to you. They could be best friends, professors, or classmates to name a few. I find it very fun meeting new people and I get to do that every day at DePaul. Many of the people you meet are through the various communities you become a part of.
One of the biggest communities you are a part of is in regards to your living situation. Whether you are in the commuter community or the living on campus community, there always happens to be a connection in regards to your living situation. This is especially the case with the dorms at DePaul.
Another place where many communities form are in your classes. I have had many classes where, by the end of class, everyone in the class was friends and knew each other. I have found that having a community like that makes the learning process easier and better. One class where this especially happens is in your Discover and Explore class. Because there is so much experimental learning in these classes, you really get to know your classmates.
The many organizations and extracurricular activities you take part in also create small communities. These are some of the closest communities I have at DePaul because you’re in that community because you initially have something in common. For example, being involved in an accounting organization means you have a similarity in major, etc. Some of these communities have gotten me on campus jobs as well as internships and leadership positions.
Forming these communities are crucial for your college experience. I honestly feel that without the communities I am involved with at DePaul, I would not have learned the amount that I did. Not only do these communities add to your network, they are your support group and help you excel by pushing you in the right direction.
If you plan to go to college in hopes of getting a similar experience to your high school days, you are wrong. There are many more differences than similarities in going to college.
To begin, you are given more independence. For example, you can set you schedule and choose your classes every quarter. Instead of having a counselor looking over your shoulder, you make the schedule of your dreams with the classes you want. You also make the decision of going to class or not. Missing class at DePaul is not recommended. Since the class sizes are so small you will probably have a message from your professor asking where you were. If you do not live at home, you also have the independence to eat what you want, clean what you want, and sleep where you want. Remember, that hygiene and health are pivotal to your well-being, especially in college.
You also have a lot of "free time". This is in quotations because free essentially means that you have extra time to do what you want with your time. College is all about making experiences and learning. It is up to you to utilize that free time and make the most of it. Luckily, DePaul makes it very easy for you to use your free time based on all of the clubs and activities that it has.
The other major difference is the diversity of people at college versus high school. Whereas in high school you mostly see people from your hometown or surrounding areas, in college you meet people from all over the nation and world. This mesh of cultures makes the college experience that much better and gives you the opportunity to meet people with different religions, experiences, and cultures than the ones you are familiar to you.
At the end of the day, college is what you make of it so be sure to make the most of it.
One of the Alumni Association’s current affinity events is called #DPUlove. Even though I am not a crazy social media guy, I really like DePaul and think that it is important to communicate and share experiences you have with other people; hence, why I blog and why I am blogging about the #DPUlove campaign.
What do I love most about DePaul? I love that every week brings new experiences where I can learn and develop. Whether this be because it is in a city, the diversity, or the professors, I always am experiencing amazing things and am very appreciative of that.
The experience you get from DePaul is different for every person. Some people love certain events or a certain organization. Others love the dorms or the service opportunities. Whatever the case may be, DePaul has a way of creating an education where any student can thrive and exercise their passions.
I love DePaul and all it has taught and given me.
We are in the age of the app. Almost anything nowadays has an app that someone can use to tackle a problem. Even DePaul has an app! Here are my top five apps that I would recommend all DePaul students utilize.
If you don’t have Spotify yet, you should definitely jump on the bandwagon. It is a great app to get all of your music and stay focused while you are studying, going to the gym, or taking the train.
2) Transit Stop
Especially if you take the train a lot, this is a perfect app to help you get around the city. It searches nearby transit centers and will give you approximate arrival times of trains and buses in the area. If you use Transit Stop, Google Maps, and Lyft, you will have no trouble getting around the city.
3) The Weather Channel
Surprisingly, this app does more things than just check the weather. It can be used as a way to see weather related news, current delays on the transit as well as current delays in local airports, and can show great radar maps of the area. The radar is especially good when you want to get a glimpse of the weather in the next 3 hours.
I use this app to share the bill with my friends and to spit rent and utilities with my roommates. Honestly, splitting the bill not a fun thing to do amongst your friends and you have to do it quite a bit in the city if you are a person that goes out to eat a lot. This is a great way to simplify the step.
One thing about Chicago is that there is a Starbucks almost every other block. Using this app makes it easier to pay and get rewards with Starbucks.
Even though this is a small list, these apps can make your experience at DePaul much easier. Just don’t use them during class (unless you’re taking notes, etc.). My roommate actually uses his phone to record his professor. As long as you ask your professor first, it is totally allowed. Be resourceful!
As a senior you begin to say “remember when” and reminisce about your experiences in college. I have had some of my most vivid memories of college during my freshman year in the fall. Here are some of my most vivid memories.
1) My Discover class:
The discover class I took was called City on a Lake. In this class, we discussed why Chicago is where it is and discussed how the environment affects the city. I am still friends with people in the class and hang out with some of them on a regular basis. I remember going canoeing on the Chicago River. There was a day where we went and got a tour of the lakefront. There was also a time I was asking a question and referred to Lake Michigan as an “ocean” instead of a “lake” and was hassled for the rest of the class because of it.
2) The trip to my friend’s cabin in Wisconsin
Having second homes in California is pretty foreign, or at least not as popular. If you live in the city, many families have second homes that they go to in order to escape from the hustle and bustle. On the drive up, I don’t think I had ever seen more colors in the trees. I also saw one of the most memorable sunsets ever. I guess it showed me what a real Midwestern fall was like. I also tried Culver’s for the first time. Because of Culver’s, my life changed for the better. My health, not so much. Lastly, I learned what a rural Wal-Mart was like. It was quite an experience.
3) Corn hole
This was the first time I had ever played corn hole (also called bags). Midwesterners really take this game seriously. Luckily, with my friend Tom’s and my top-notch precision, we won most times. My friends Remy and Dan, who were our main rivals, were seen losing time and time again (the not so dream team). We took the game seriously and were a non-celebrity shot league (cough cough my friend Delaney) and play all the time on the quad, even in the wettest of Fall days.
4) Tutoring at St. Columbanus
In high school I did a lot of community service and one of the big draws for me to DePaul was the importance DePaul placed on community and giving back. I was happy to see that there were tons of community service opportunities through DePaul. Some of my friends and I, each week, would head down to the south side of Chicago and tutor a fifth grade class. The teacher actually was a DePaul graduate, which was very nice. The experience was fun. From hearing all the fifth grade gossip to reflecting during the car ride back, the entire experience was very memorable for me.
5) Farmers’ Markets
I was worried coming to Chicago that there would be no farmers’ markets here. Boy was I wrong. There are so many in the area. I remember my freshman year being in shock by how much cheese and how many apples they had there. The entire experience was and still is fun for me. Being a huge fan of honey crisp apples, I am in heaven every time I go.
Professors are resources. They do more than just teach you. They can help you with career advice, be great mentors, and provide you with seasoned life lessons. To get all of these great things, it always helps to be on the professor’s good side. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that you give a good first impression to the professor.
Step 1: Get to class on time or early
It is crucial that you are in class on time. Especially if it is an important or difficult class, the professor will start lecturing right when the class begins. Running in late is obnoxious and can be easily alleviated by catching the earlier train or hitting the snooze button one less time
Step 2: Be active and aware
It is one thing to be in class and another thing to be actively listening and participating in the discussion. Let’s face it, professors know if you do not care. They know if you are actually taking notes on your computer or if you are just tweeting about how bored you are.
Step 3: Make a connection
In my opinion, this is most missed step, the hardest step, and the most important step. If you are able to go to the professor and show interest, share a commonality, or ask a question after or before class, it will show your interest and desire to have a personal relationship with your professor.
College is more than just sitting in class all day. You need to take advantage of everything that DePaul gives you. Every student wants something different out of college. It is important that you look a professor as a resource and not an obstacle.
Last weekend, I took a visit to the Baha’i temple. Since my freshman year, I had heard amazing things about it and the pictures I had seen made me even more excited to take a quick visit.
The building is gorgeous. The scale of this building is something you actually have to go to in order to experience. Also, the ornament looks like something that would have taken decades to complete. It is so interesting to look at the Baha’i Temple and compare it to other Chicago religious buildings as they are all so different. There is actually a class at DePaul that compares Catholic churches in Chicago, with a specific focus on their architecture.
The interior was also very nice. If I could think of one word to describe it, I would say tranquil. I feel as if it was a place that, no matter how much conflict and craziness is happening in the world or someone’s life, if you walk into the temple, you immediately feel at peace. One thing that helps is that you are requested to not talk or use technology in the building, which helps it sustain its peace.
The landscape surrounding the building was also beautiful. I felt as if I were in a botanical garden it was so nice. My friend Kacey and I just laid in the grass for 20 minutes in order to take in the beauty of the building and the surrounding landscape.
Architecture in the Chicagoland area is awesome. I have had the opportunity to experience so much of the city’s architecture at DePaul. Recently, there was the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House. This means that a lot of the buildings that an average citizen would usually not be able to see were be open to the public. During this week, I went to the top of the Kemper Building, got a tour of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s residential buildings, and, my favorite, got a tour of the Foundation Room in the House of Blues.
One accounting class is a lot. Two accounting class is near crazy. This quarter I have the pleasure of taking two accounting classes at the same time. Most students that major in accounting spread their classes out so they only have one accounting class every quarter. Luckily, I have learned how to deal with taking multiple tough classes at once.
Below are a few tips on how to cope with a tough quarter:
1) Acknowledge that you have a tough quarter
No quarter is going to be a walk in the park; but, it is up to you to understand and acknowledge when one quarter is going to be hard. Being able to do this can get you mentally prepared.
2) Have some scheduling tool
Whether this be a written planner or something on your phone, be able to organize what you are doing so you don’t forget anything. Even though this is a good idea for any quarter, it is pivotal for the difficult ones.
In college there are a ton of distractions. Make sure that when you have a date with the library, treat it as a date: be early and don’t leave until the date is done.
4) Do not take important things out of your life to do well
Even though you are going to be busy, don’t stop going to the gym, calling your mom/dad, talking to your friends, or having fun. Obviously you have to find time to study, etc., but make sure what you move around or get rid of is not something important.
Some people think that if you want to see a famous person, your best bet is to go to Hollywood. Even though that may be true for actors and actress, when it comes to everyone else, big cities like Chicago are great places to star-watch.
This week, I had a star-sighting. Personally, I am a person that has little care to start a tally of every famous person that I have seen, but this person was someone that was more than an actor or actress. Hillary Clinton is a woman that has influenced not only Chicago, not only the United States, not only the world, but the GALAXY (I’m talking about NASA…). If you didn’t know, Hillary Clinton’s childhood dream was to become an astronaut. She went as far as writing a letter to NASA inquiring about opportunities as a child.
Anyways, yes, Hillary Clinton was in the Loop Campus on Wednesday. She was in Chicago for a fundraising event for Pat Quinn, and decided to stop with Pat at DePaul to rally students to vote. DePaul is a very politically active university. Students and professors have no problem telling you their perspective on political issues and topics. I happen to like it. It not only gives you new perspectives, it makes you think.
No city in the States has a more fiery political system than Chicago. With multiple former mayors strapped in scandals, no city can match-up to Chicago politics. I personally know many students that have had internships with the city, for political campaigns (including Obama’s), and for think tanks. If you are interested in politics, DePaul can offer a fantastic backbone for you to act on your interest.
In my sophomore year of high school, I read Sandra Cisneros's novel The House on Mango Street. At the time, I thought very little of the novel as it was a book for class and, well, my impression on reading in high school was much different than it is now. I look back at the novel today and now understand how amazing it is.
I feel as if many of the themes in the novel represent many of the topics DePaul tries to stress in its classes. This book is a coming of age book. It is about a Chicano girl who is trying to find her place in this world. She deals with issues such as race, culture, gender, and economic issues.
Based in Chicago, it talks about the immense racial segregation in the city. The main character sets her mind on one day leaving where she lives and pursuing her dreams; however, this rarely happens in her neighborhood.
Now, I do not want to spoil the book for you all. I highly recommend reading it and am sure it will be worth your time. I am extremely excited that Sandra Cisneros will be speaking at DePaul. Along with her event, she will also be speaking at the commencement for the School of New Learning and will be earning an honorary degree.
Below is the link for more information on her and the event:http://newsroom.depaul.edu/NewsReleases/showNews.aspx?NID=2787
I do my best to exercise every day. It is a way to keep myself sane after a long day of class and studying. My freshman year, I was all about running all of the time. I would run with my friends and by myself. However, during my sophomore year I injured my foot so I had to lower my running distance and find a new way to exercise and relax.
Recently, I have really gotten in spinning classes at DePaul. I usually go once or twice a week and thoroughly enjoy it. I have done it so much that I am considering becoming trained as an instructor in the future. I also tried swimming but it was not my cup of tea. However, I know a lot of people that like it and are much faster than me. I am also taking a two credit Fitness and Conditioning class to get a better understanding of fitness and to learn how to mix up my workouts.
Chicago is big. Being one of the largest cities in the United States, there are tons of gyms. Most gyms give you the opportunity to try them out before paying anything; therefore, it gives you the opportunity to see the different gyms and get a feel for different ways to work out at different types of gyms.
Today my friends and I went to a free boxing class at Title Boxing in Lincoln Park. It was a blast, even though it was extremely draining and difficult. Learning all of the different punches and kicks was hard but fun. It really looks a lot easier than it actually is. It didn’t help that one of my friends did Taekwondo so she blew me out of the water. I would definitely do it again.
One thing that DePaul works hard to do is immerse itself in the city. It helps that we live basically in the center of everything. It also helps that DePaul centers on working toward social justice. This year was the first year that DePaul was selected to be part of On the Table.
On the Table is an event where Chicago organizations are invited to attend a dinner event where people get together and discuss current issues occurring in Chicago and ways to fix these issues.
DePaul invited a select group of students to participate in this event and I was luckily invited to attend. Led by our president, Father Holtschneider, we were able to come up with viable solutions to some of Chicago's problems.
Some of the topics we focused on were education and violence. Through much contemplation, we came up with a few solutions that we all submitted to the Chicago Community Trust. Essentially, the Chicago Community Trust works with On the Table and sponsors some of the solutions that the participating organizations come up with.
I have been involved in a few things like these at DePaul and I think it is great that I can not only be involved with DePaul but I can also be involved with the community.
Before coming to DePaul, I attended a public high school; therefore, I had no religion classes at my school. Being the Catholic school that DePaul is, I knew I was going to have to take religion classes, which I was a bit nervous about. I soon noticed that the religion classes that DePaul offers are not your typical religion classes. Like many of DePaul's classes, they tend to focus on current issues rather than just looking at the past.
When looking for a religion class, the one class that most caught my eye was a class called "Contemporary Moral Ethics: A Marxist Pope?". It not only caught my interest because it was about Pope Francis, who is an incredible person, but also because it was about economic systems and how they are affecting our current world.
Our professor is Father/Dr. Benson. With seven degrees, I think he is qualified to teach anything he wants. If I could describe him in one word it would be cultured. He has been around the world and has learned everything there is to know about religion, science and ethics.
The class is designed to be about half lecture and half discussion. It is based on a comment made on Rush Limbaugh's radio station when he accused Pope Francis of being a Marxist. In the class, we have studied Pope Francis by reading Evangelii Gaudium, which is a book he wrote about his preachings. We are now reading Capitalism and Christianity, American Style, which talks about how Christianity and the American economy are intermingled. These books really complement the class well and I would recommend both to anyone interested in the topic.
There are a few things I know I will take from this class:
1) Pope Francis is awesome. He is someone I definitely do and will
continue to look up to and appreciate.
2) Economics is not just graphs and numbers: it is cultures and ideas meshed together with the government and the environment.
3) With every decision you make, be sure to critically evaluate and ensure that it is right not only for yourself, but for your friends, community, and family.
This weekend I decided to go and visit my sister up in Madison. As a DePaul student, there is really no need for a car as you can take the train to get around most of the city. When it comes to getting around the Midwest, I would recommend the Megabus.
The Megabus is a cheap way to get around the Midwest and you can get to basically any large city in the area. Every time that I take the Megabus, it is always very interesting. Sometimes you get a cool bus driver, sometimes you get a double-decker bus, and sometimes you get the front row seat up top.
You can use the Megabus to get home, to visit your family, or just to go on a mini vacation with your friends. Most of the buses have free WiFi and power outlets in every seat. One of the great things about being in Chicago at DePaul is that Chicago is one of Megabus' focus cities; therefore, the options are nearly endless for transportation.
If you want to get to a smaller city, you can take the Amtrak to cities throughout the Midwest as well. If you need to fly, Chicago is the hub for many of the airlines. Let me tell you, it is significantly easier to fly when you can get a nonstop flight, especially when you are flying into Chicago. It was actually something I considered when looking at schools.
All of these modes of transportation can be accessed via the CTA, which is great because as a DePaul student you get a U-Pass which gives you access to any train or bus at no additional cost.
As I learned in my Discover Chicago class, Chicago is famous for its railroads and easy access. It is one of the main reasons that the city grew to what it is today. Even though some say Indiana is the Crossroads of America, I would venture to disagree and say that Chicago is the Crossroads of America.
Looking for apartments makes you really feel like an adult. You have a budget. There are contracts, tons of paperwork, research, negotiations, and credit reports. It feels like you are being thrown into a Financial Fitness Course with people that have already taken the course before. It is a lot of work and can be difficult at times but worth it in the end. The relief you get when you sign the contract and get the acceptance is an awesome feeling.
My guardian savior for apartment hunting is an app/website called Zillow. With this website, you can search nearly every apartment in the city, filtering your results to fit your criteria. It consolidates almost every listing, from Craigslist to private realtors.
My sophomore and junior year I lived off campus, even though I would hardly consider either apartment off campus. Both times I lived less than two blocks from campus in Lincoln Park. For students that live on campus their freshman year, I would recommend living in the Lincoln Park area to get accustomed to living off campus, while still staying involved in extracurricular activities on campus.
As my senior year is coming quickly, I have decided to move to an area outside of Lincoln Park. This is the time when leases begin to become available and agents begin showing apartments. I am looking at Lakeview, Uptown, and Wrigleyville. Wherever I end up, I am sure that it will be a place that I will grow to love!
It seems as if when many people look at DePaul, they think religious. Sure, we are the largest Catholic university in the United States and yes, being Vincentian is one of our core pillars, but hearing these words should not steer away any student from DePaul. There is more to religion than going to church and that idea is embraced at DePaul.
First of all, the Vincentian order was founded along the ideals of St. Vincent DePaul. Vinny dedicated himself to the poor in France, teaching them, feeding them, and telling them about Catholicism.
Tying this to DePaul, the university was founded to allow the marginalized in Lincoln Park, which used to be a very poor neighborhood, to get a quality education. Even today, education is a top priority of the university. That is why professors, not TA's, teach almost every class at DePaul.
DePaul also embraces the idea of doing community service and understanding what is happening in our local community. Many of our classes are geared toward understanding realities of society. There is also a plethora of volunteer opportunities and service trips that you can go on through DePaul.
You should not look at DePaul's religious identity as a negative aspect. The effects are extremely positive for every DePaul student. This creates a positive, effective environment for any college student to learn.
As my junior year comes to a close, I am beginning to take some of the more difficult classes for my major. One of those classes is tax. As I have come to find out, tax is one of those courses that you either love or hate. Some people find joy in filing returns, learning tax code, and saving their clients money. Others have trouble wrapping their head around the subject and would probably rather take any other class than tax. Even though I have just started taking this class, I have noticed that there are many things that I enjoy about the subject.
For one, I really like that it is very relatable to current situations. I recently filed my tax return and noticed many things went hand in hand with my class. Taxes are very important in every American's life. Learning how they work is very interesting. It is one thing to know you have to pay taxes every year and another thing to know and understand why you pay taxes and what your taxes are doing for you.
When looking at tax code, it is very easy to get bogged down in the numbers and rules and laws that make up the code; however, when you take time to really dissect the information, it can be extremely interesting. What I really like about this class is that we are not just memorizing information. We are critically analyzing the code and understanding why it is what it is. Not only am I able to understand the code better, I know why I pay what I pay.
I think that it is extremely important that you take classes that are relatable to your future. Many students, in my opinion, don’t understand taxes. Some probably have not been in the position to care. But, looking to the future, I know that taxes will be a part of life, whether good or bad. As Ben Franklin said, 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
This spring break I participated in my second Service Immersion trip with DePaul. Both times I attended these trips, I was blown away by the amount that I learned and the experiences I had. For this Spring Break, I went to Montgomery, Alabama. The theme was Civil Rights.
Firstly, I had never been to the south before so I was initially enticed to attend the trip to gain a new experience about life in the south and how topics such as discrimination and religion affect the present time. Learning about Civil Rights in the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement was also something that I was extremely interested in.
Once we got to our service and living site, I was amazed. We stayed at Resurrection School, which was a private catholic school. Compared to my previous trip, we had beds to sleep on. That alone was enough to make me happy after a thirteen hour bus ride. We did a lot of service at the school such working with the kids, assisting the teachers, and helping Doyle, the school custodian.
We went to many museums and took many tours of colleges, nonprofit organizations and different cities. One of my favorite events was the peace dinner that we attended, which was hosted by the priest of the school. Here we met many past and current community activists. We even met Dr. King’s barber!
For me, it was important that what I learned I would be able to bring back to my community and I know that, through sharing my experiences, I will be able to do this. It is hard to explain these experiences, especially in a blog post. The effect that they have had on me is immense and I encourage all students to take advantage of them.
You are given a week of freedom. What are you to do during that week? This is a list of five options I would recommend to you.1. Go on a Service Trip
DePaul offers many service immersion trips that you can do over Spring Break. I have gone on two of them and they have been awesome trips that I would recommend to anyone.
2. Go home and visit your family
It is great to spend a week at home with you family and friends. Spring Break is a break so you should take a load off and do something that will give you the chance to relax and enjoy yourself.3. Go spend a week at one of your friends schools
Not all schools have the same Spring Break as DePaul does. If you do have some friends at different colleges, it is a good opportunity to go visit them. There you can hang out with them, maybe sneak in to one of their classes as well as check out a different university.4. Stay in Chicago
Sometimes a staycation is all you need to relax. If you stay at DePaul, you can relax, maybe get some spring cleaning done and rejuvenate yourself for Spring Quarter.5. Vacation
SPRING BREAK!!! If you are a person that wants to go to Florida, Cancun, anywhere that has been in a Spring Break movie, go do it. Whether it be on land or on a cruise, make your Spring Break your Spring Break.