The Topics

The Latest

Articles by Tim Littman

Things I Wish I Had Done

​​​​​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.

4) Go to the Holocaust Museum​

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 Music Scene

​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.

4) FEST!!!
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.

Standardized Testing

​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.


Jerry from Ben & Jerry's

​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.


Why I Love the Movie Boyhood and How It Relates to DePaul

​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:
  1. 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!



School Spirit

​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.


#DPUlove

​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.


5 Apps All DePaul Students Should Have

​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.

1) Spotify
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.

 
4) Splitwise
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.

5) Starbucks
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!


My Fall Freshman year

​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.

Here you can see beautiful Lake Michigan
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.

Wisconsin is actually a beautiful state
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.

Most people in this region are corn hole masters
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.

Here is Chicago. The school is far south of the Loop.
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.

This is my weekly farmers’ market



Sandra Cisneros: Guest Speaker

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




A Free Exercise Class

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.
 
​​

The Megabus

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.