Articles by Tom Hagerman

Spots You Don't Get to See on Your DePaul Tour

By Tom Hagerman / June 16, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
I understand how college tours can be because I was also once looking for somewhere to go to college.  Colle​​ge tours​ are.... well, an interesting time.  They are busy days of possibly seeing a couple of schools, doing a lot of walking, and hearing a lot of people talk about college.  If you don't catch my drift, I didn't especially love touring colleges.  I felt like I couldn't always get a real feel of what it might be like going there.  Here's my biggest piece of advice - walk around campus by yourself to see how it feels!  That's what ultimately led me to making a decision about college. 

On the flip side, I was also a tour guide at DePaul.  With my experience as a prospective student on hand when I gave tours, I did my best to show students what it might feel like going to DePaul, as opposed to telling people how old a certain building is - because really, that doesn't necessarily inform how your experience will be.

To aid in the process of getting a better feel for DePaul, I went out and took photos of a few spots that you don't get to see on your one hour tour.  It's not that you don't get to see these spots because they are private, it's simply because there isn't enough time.  However, these are some important and neat places.  Scroll down for a short photo tour of some places that you probably didn't see on your DePaul tour.

Also, I'm no photography major and the photos aren't edited, so you really get a raw look at these places.  

Arts and Letters Hall Student Computer Lab

This is one of my favorite study spots on campus.  There's a ton of sunlight and NICE computers to work on.  Again, the best thing about this space is that the sunlight and windows are incredible. 

Arts and Letters computer 
 and Letters computer lab

John T. Richardson Library​ Third Floor (just one hallway of the floor)

John T. Richardson Library 

The library is a stop on most tours, but you only get to see the first floor, if there is even time to step into the library.  But, given that we go to college to learn, this is probably an important space because you could find yourself spending a lot of time here.  The good news is that they just renovated the first and second floors, and I'm pretty sure there are plans to renovate other spaces in the library.  Again, this spot offers pretty large windows!

Here's a spot you definitely don't get to see until your freshman orientation over the summer.  The track is great for the cold winters.  Also, the basketball courts are where many of the intramural games are held (soccer, volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, etc).  Although the picture isn't fantastic and it was a bit cloudy out, you can see the city from the track (8 minute trip on the train)!

Ray Meyer Fitness 
 Meyer Fitness Center

Arts and Letters Room 415 - Awesome Classroom on Campus

Not every classroom in the world offers you a view like this one.  It's a corner room with windows looking toward the city.  I've never had a class in here, but I still try to sneak up there once in a while.

Arts and Letters Room 415

Nice Outdoor Space in Front of McCabe Hall
McCabe is a hall typically reserved for sophomores, juniors, and seniors; however, the space in front of it is really nice and a perfect escape from the indoors. 

That's it for now.  But again, if you've got a little bit of extra time I highly recommend taking a stroll around campus and seeing how it feels for yourself. 

5 Things I Wish I Did Before Coming To DePaul

By Tom Hagerman / May 22, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
​​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.        

A Students Guide to Visiting the DePaul Area

By Tom Hagerman / May 11, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
It's difficult to deny that we're incredibly lucky to go to college in Chicago, one of the neatest cities in our country.  We're in a neighborhood in Chicago surrounded by an unlimited number of things to do.

But, if you're not from the area, it's difficult to know what to do, especially when visiting campus just an afternoon or a day.  I found it incredibly difficult to know what kinds of things were close that I would be able to take advantage of for the next four years.  Well, I'm offering a bit of a solution to that problem.  

I've created a google map of some of my favorite things in the city.  They are good ideas for places to visit when you visit DePaul.  Again, there's an endless amount of things to do in Chicago, but it will hopefully give you ideas for places to go on your visit.  

Click here to access the google map​.  You'll need a google account (email ending in  If you don't have on yet, you might as well create one because it will be useful in college, and you'll want to have a professional email address so professors don't have to email you  

Here's a key to the map​.  
I separated it by places you can walk, take the train or bus, and places you'll need to drive.  It's color coded by restaurants, entertainment, coffee shops/study spots, and outdoor activities.  Check it out, and comment below if you have any questions.  I hope this helps spice up your visit to DePaul.  Don't forget to get off campus and see our backyard (and front yard)!  ​ 

The Best Thing About Spring Quarter

By Tom Hagerman / April 29, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
Spring in Chicago is like an awakening.  It’s a few long weeks of remembering just how many people live here, and wondering where they have all been during winter.  

The best thing about spring is the energy that comes alive.  The weather, the people, the events, and the outdoor meals.  Everything wakes up, and the weeks of spring almost make the entire winter worth the wait.  Admittedly, it gets difficult to stay focused on school during spring quarter.  However, the incredible weather and events of the spring do make it perfectly fine that we’re in school a bit later into the summer than other colleges.   

Spring quarter is also a time of preparation for transition.  Whether you’re just about to start college, finishing up an intermediate year of college, or getting ready to move on from college, there’s a lot to figure out in the spring.  It’s like saying goodbye to the life you had in the winter and hello to the new spring/summer life.  

The weather makes it possible to explore the areas of the city that you
The Art Institute of Chicago
didn't get to in the winter.  It makes eating outside at the local places possible.  You have everything that a city offers (like good food, interesting people, fun things to do for every type of person) and you also have the lake that almost makes you feel like you’re out of the city.  

I especially enjoy spring on campus because it's the best time to sit outside before or after class and get some sun.   It gives me an energy that sustains me through the class and helps me be more focused once I am ready to sit down for class.  

Still, my absolute favorite thing about the spring in Chicago is being able to walk around and see people that you haven't for a while.  The winter can be hard, but spring makes the winter months worth the wait.  Seeing people get back outside and all the happiness and activities make spring one of the best times of the year in Chicago.

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

By Tom Hagerman / April 23, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
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.

Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to DePaul

By Tom Hagerman / March 20, 2015 / / Twitter / Facebook /
1) You're about to have access to one of the biggest cities in the US. Take advantage of it, it's what makes DePaul unique.  The fun events, the food, the cultures, the companies, the volunteer opportunities.  Of course it depends on what you're studying, but the point is that there's something for almost everyone.  Unless you're hoping to work exploring the mountains, there's a good chance that you can find something to do off campus.  I waited too long to get involved in things off campus, and I regret doing so.  

2) The Vincentian mission can have an impact on your experience, if you choose so.   I knew nothing about the mission before coming to DePaul, but freshman year I got involved in DCSA (DePaul Community Service Association) and went on a service immersion trip to New Orleans.  These experiences started something that made my time extra special at DePaul.  The experiences helped me better understand what I want to do after college and how I see myself staying connected to the values that DePaul is founded on.  The two pictures below are of my group on a service immersion trip to Philadelphia.

3) You're going to have more options of what type of people you're surrounded by, and they will deeply impact you.  Your friends and their interests, work ethic, and choices will change you, and it's important to be ready for that.  In some cases this might require adaptability and in other it will require strength to move on from new friendships.  There are a lot of different people here.  Some people are really
passionate about social justice, some are looking to be top business executives, some are here for more fun, and many are figuring out who they are.  You get to choose how to spend your four years and who to spend them around, but know that they go dang fast.  The picture below is of some of my closest friends at DePaul after our intramural inner tube water polo championship game.

Week 9-10 Craziness

By Tom Hagerman / November 17, 2014 / / Twitter / Facebook /
There's Jess working on her iodine lab report.​
Getting through the last week or two of every quarter is certainly a challenge.  It is a time when you’ve become pretty tired from the previous weeks, yet you can taste the freedom that's to come in the end.  It's also unfortunately a time when generally 30-40% of your grade for a class is determined, so it’s not a time to start slacking.  With that said, here’s a little update of what I’ve been up to this past week.  I've spent my time studying at the library, eating lunch/dinner out way too much, pulling an all-nighter for a lab report, and occasionally getting off campus (to study…).  

I’ve gone to the Bourgeois Pig a few times in the past couple of weeks.  It’s nice because it is real close to campus and there’s lots of space to study.  It’s generally pretty quiet in there, and it’s a big bonus that they have tasty food.  It’s pretty busy on Sundays, but it's a great place to go during the week if you want to get out of the library for a little while.

Bourgeous Pig... or the Pig for short. A snuggly coffee shop pretty close to campus.

Thursday night was a pretty long one for me…  The best part about my all-nighter was that I had the company of Jess and Huanna.  They’re both in my quantum chemistry class and senior chemistry majors as well.  We started our night in the library and were there until 2am (when the library closes).  Thankfully there is a chemistry computer lab in McGowan South that we have access to, and we were able to spend the night working there.  I had class from 9am until 1pm the next day, and then I was able to work on my report until it was due at 5pm.  It was a great feeling to turn in my report and rush home to sleep (for 18 hours... oops).

I’ve spent a good amount of time these last two weekends at a coffee shop in Wicker Park called Wormhole.  I try to take the opportunity on the weekends to spend time outside of the DePaul area.  This past weekend I had dinner at Dimo’s Pizza with my sister and friend Delaney before doing some work at Wormhole.  I also spent some time at a coffee shop near my apartment called Intelligentsia.  It's pretty great there too.

Wormhole, in Wicker Park.


With that said, I’ve still spent the biggest majority of my time at the library on campus, and thankfully it’s quite a nice place to study.  It’s nice to be around people that you know, and the environment is pretty productive in general.  I know I’m going to miss being in this type of college environment next year, so I’m trying to soak it up as much as possible.

So, there’s a little eclectic taste of my past couple weeks of the quarter.  Finals start this coming Wednesday (November 19th), and then it’s time for six blissful weeks of winter break!  Those weeks are some of the best weeks of the year.  Not to say that school isn’t great, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t like six weeks of freedom.  I’ve got some fun things planned, but first it’s time to get through finals week.  

My X-Favorite Season

By Tom Hagerman / November 4, 2014 / / Twitter / Facebook /
From the time I was 11 years old until I graduated high school I volunteered at a haunted house in my hometown.  While the work always started during the summer, it makes sense that the excitement mostly took place in October.  Because of the haunted house, the fall has always been a time of the year that I look forward to.  Even after coming to college and leaving the haunted house behind, I still get good feelings about the fall.  So, fall is my favorite season if I’m back at home in Rochester, IL.  I called this post my x-favorite season because since coming to Chicago I can’t deny that the summer is heaven here.  But I do love it here in the fall, so don’t get me wrong. 

One of my favorite parts about fall quarter is family weekend.  My family and my friends’ families have come for three family weekends now and they have been a blast.  These weekends are one of the highlights of fall quarter because it’s so nice to have a weekend dedicated to spending time showing my parents the things that I’m experiencing at college.  In the past my parents have rented a house with my friend Delaney’s parents for the weekend.  It actually ends up being more economical than a hotel and the house always serves as a gathering place.  We generally end up spending a lot of time all together and we have a blast doing it.

Here’s a little flashback to sophomore year Family Weekend. My dog even got to come!
A more distinctive part of every fall for me is trying to get back into the swing of school.  Autumn quarter is always hard to adjust to after a nice summer break, and it feels like it ends just a couple of weeks after I’ve finally gotten used to being in school.  This quarter is no exception to that trend.  It’s soon to be the 9th week of school (of 11 weeks including finals) and I am just starting to feel like I’ve adjusted to being back in school.  It could be the quarter system that’s causing this, but it’s likely just a personal issue.  Whatever it is, I should warn you for the whirlwind of the autumn quarter.  It’s more of a reminder that there’s a lot to our experience in college, and it’s not time that should be wasted even though it feels busy.  I’ve especially been reminded through the hustle of this fall quarter how important it is to take a break from school-work and make sure that I am experiencing life as a college student, seeing friends, and enjoying the city.

My New Commute

By Tom Hagerman / October 23, 2014 / / Twitter / Facebook /

I don’t know if I have the grounds to say that I really commute to school, as it only takes me about 30 minutes from door to door, but it’s certainly put a spin on my new school year. Some DePaul students spend an hour or two one way every day, so I can’t complain.

Even so, spending 30 minutes traveling is new for me because last year all I had to do was walk out my door and be in McGowan South (the science building) in three minutes. In short, I’ve loved the commute.

My mornings go as such: I wake up in a fury, probably after sleeping through about three alarms, and I turn the coffee machine before hopping in the shower. The first few weeks of school I was good about packing a lunch, but now I generally just pack any snacks that I can throw in my bag quickly. It takes me about 6 minutes to walk to the Sheridan red line station from my apartment, and because I leave in the morning during rush hour, I almost never have to wait more than 5 minutes for the train on my way to school. It’s more like 2 or three minutes. It takes about 10 minutes on the red line to get from Sheridan to Fullerton, and voila, I’m at school.  

What I enjoy the most about my commute is that I have time to enter and leave every day with a little time to myself to just think about the day or let my mind wander. Sometimes I read or look over class notes on the train, and sometimes I stare blankly into space for 15 minutes. I guess it just depends on the day.  

I thought it was going to be harder to get used to the extra travel time in the morning and at night, but it’s been great so far. We’ll see if I’m singing the same tune in the winter.    

You can see that the trip is pretty easy, I just have to hop on the red line and I’m there.

Don't Forget to Pack Your Bike

By Tom Hagerman / June 4, 2014 / / Twitter / Facebook /
That's not me up there in the video.  If the rider took a right turn at about 1:45 (on Fullerton), in a couple of minutes they would have ended up at DePaul.​ 

I don't think I knew how to ride a bike (without training wheels) until I was at least in middle school.  Whenever it was, the point is that it was way later than almost all of my friends.  Because I was so behind I never really liked to ride my bike, until the last few years before turning 16 when not being able to drive was making me go crazy.  

At the start of my sophomore year at DePaul I convinced my dad to let me bring his bike up to Chicago.  I went out and got a nice lock because I knew that bikes are like gold in the city.  Turns out he would probably regret that decision because a few months later my bike (my dad's bike) got stolen.  It was locked up to the rusty fence outside my apartment one night and the next day the bike was gone.  There was also a piece of our fence missing that someone sawed through.  

I found a new bike on craigslist after mourning for a month and got back to riding almost every day.  It's one of my favorite ways to explore the city and find new things to do.  It's perfect for some alone time and for experiencing the city with friends.  Some of my favorite moments riding have been really late at night when there aren't too many cars on the street.  Biking is a great way to jump between study spots, quickly drop off a rent check, get to a friends apartment, or just to let loose and get away from campus once in a while.  Definitely bring a bike to school and get out there to explore the city.​

I Got a Pedicure... And Then a Manicure...

By Tom Hagerman / May 7, 2014 / / Twitter / Facebook /
No, I didn't get them painted
Well, this weekend I found myself doing something somewhat unexpected.  But it was incredible.  Jeez it was great. 
I went to get a pedicure with my friend Brett at a local shop.  The two women that helped us out were awesome.  You should know that I have a little thing with feet, in that I really like feet.  I like getting foot massages from friends and I don't mind touching other people's feet besides maybe my dad's.  Sorry dad.

But it was so nice to have a time dedicated to my feet.  My feet were really happy for it.  They got to soak in some hot water and were massaged by JoJo.  She got rid of some old skin and trimmed up my toenails, something I don't really do besides when I eat my toenails. Just kidding about eating toenails.

The pedicure felt so good that we decided we might as well get a manicure too.  It was pretty nice.  My fingers never get attention either and JoJo could tell.  Halfway through the manicure portion of the evening I asked JoJo what time they closed and realized they had stayed about an hour after they were supposed to because we didn't check to see when they closed and they were too nice to tell us.  I felt horrible but I made sure to tip her well.  But, for any future DePaul students, I must say that the place we went to was very nice.  The women were incredibly sweet and it was a really relaxing atmosphere.

Overall, it won't be the last time I visit JoJo.  I think I might need to make another visit around finals week.