Articles by Tom Hagerman

5 Things I Wish I Did Before Coming To DePaul

​​This time of year is pretty exciting because of all the looming change.  Whether you're getting ready to graduate high school or to start your senior year, it's time to start transitioning.  Change is fun!

Here are five things that I wish I did before starting college at DePaul:

(1) Identify a mentor for the next four years, someone that you will be able to look up to for guidance.  This may be someone in your potential career field or someone from back home that you're particularly fond of.  Whoever it is, it may be best that they are a bit older and ready to give honest advice.  This could also be a DePaul professor.  In fact, that would be excellent because they can help you navigate your four years while also being someone that will see you change through your time here.  I've had a faculty mentor (Dr. Caitlin Karver) and I can't stress enough how thankful for her I am.  So, take a leap and reach out to someone (a professor, someone in Chicago, someone back home).  Think about your support system, who you go to when you need help or support.

Four years go by fast! Make the best of every one of them.
(2) Do some introspection.  Think about the core of who you are.  You're going to be challenged by a lot of new things in college, but what are some things that you're not willing to give up?  What are some things you're ready to move past?  College is a fantastic time to let these changes happen :) 

(3) Make a list of goals.  Like real, solid goals.  They could be long term (4 years and above) or short term (1 year) goals.  Even goals that may seem impossible.  Challenge yourself to set expectations.  It may help you start taking advantage of the incredible things that DePaul and Chicago offer!  For example, "Tom's goal #1 as an entering freshman at DePaul: Ride on every single CTA ​bus line start to finish"- Such a great way to see new neighborhoods.  Goal status: incomplete (because I didn't articulate this goal before starting college!) :( 

(4)  Summer, Summer, Summer.  This summer you should do something life-giving.  Something that will give you energy that you can take with when you go to college.  For example, maybe get a job working at a summer camp.  You'll have countless stories when you get to college.  Or, get a fun job where you learn something new.  Make memories with your parents, family, loved ones.  Then, document your memories!  I can't tell you how many times freshman year I went through the pictures from my summer before.  It was comforting and helped me remember some of the people I loved when I wasn't seeing them all the time.      

(5) Get ready for a hell of an incredible experience!  I'm not sure how to prepare for this, but just get excited.  You're soon to embark on a fantastic journey.  Celebrate your success so far and prepare so that you can thrive in college.        

​​​​​Why I Chose DePaul vs. Why I Like DePaul

Choosing what college to attend wasn’t an easy decision for me.  I knew that I wanted to go to school in Chicago, but I was conflicted between schools here.  I had visited the two that I was interested in, but didn’t necessarily know which was going to be better for me and which would better prepare me for the future. 

So, I chose DePaul based on these considerations: 
- Location in Chicago and proximity to downtown
- Smaller size of the science program compared to other Chicago schools

My story doesn’t stop here because these reasons only scratch the surface of why I’ve enjoyed my four years here at DePaul.

Here are the major reasons why I’ve had an incredible experience at DePaul:

- Small size of science program:  Because the science program​ is relatively small, there’s more of an opportunity to get close with professors and get involved in undergraduate research.

- Location in Chicago: The proximity of DePaul to downtown Chicago, specifically the major business districts and many hospitals, means that you have the more opportunities to get experience outside of classes.

- Relationships with professors and staff (feeling much more like an individual and not a number): This is one of my favorite aspects of DePaul.  It’s clear just how much professor’s care about their students and how hard they will work to help students succeed.  While they have high expectations for students, they make sure you have support and the resources you need to make the most of your experience at DePaul. 

- Vincentian mission: I didn't know anything about the Vincentian mission​ before coming to DePaul, but it's been an important aspect of my college career.  The mission has provided a larger purpose for my education here and guidance to how I see myself contributing to society in the future.