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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!