DeBlogs > Willy Subach
I am now officially a graduate student! This week, I started my summer graduate class. This is my first summer staying in Chicago. Let me tell you, things at DePaul work a little differently during the summer. I’m taking one night class during the summer. While night classes usually meet once a week for ten weeks during a normal school term, the summer term is actually divided into two five-week sessions, so my night class meets twice a week for five weeks. It’s short, but intense.
Actually, my whole schedule is intense (at least for these
five weeks). Following my own advice, I found a great full-time summer
internship. So I work at my internship from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday. After work,
on Mondays and Wednesdays, I then run to work at my other job at the Lincoln
Park campus library from 6pm-10pm (because my internship is unpaid and I need
money). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head over to my summer graduate class from
6pm-915pm. And then in all my free time, I will try to finish all the
coursework for that class. It’s looking to be a super relaxing summer. Despite
my overwhelming schedule, I’m still hoping to find time to enjoy my first
summer in Chicago, especially after my class ends in early July. There’s so
much to experience during the summer.
To be completely honest, I just really want to go to The SpongeBob Musical. If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Spongebob musical that
is premiering in Chicago before it moves to Broadway. The super unique thing
about this musical is that rather than a single composer writing all of the songs,
a bunch of famous musicians each composed a single song. So imagine a musical
about Spongebob Squarepants featuring songs composed by Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, T.I., and David Bowie, among others. I cannot
imagine what a T.I. song about Spongebob sounds like and I need to find out.
If you’re not into Spongebob though, there are plenty of
other things to do in Chicago during the summer. If you like music but aren’t
as interested as I am about hearing a Panic! At The Disco song about Spongebob,
you can try to find tickets to Lollapalooza. You can find the lineup for
Lollapalooza here. Or if you’re more like me and you’d rather spend your money
on food, you can always try to brave the crowds at Taste of Chicago. I’ve
always wanted to go to Taste of Chicago, but I’ve never gotten a chance, so my
goal this summer to is find time to make it to Taste of Chicago.
I’m so excited to finally be able to spend the summer in
Chicago. Let me know if you have any exciting plans for your summer!
To be completely honest, I almost turned down the
opportunity to present at the conference. Unlike most people (I imagine), it
wasn’t the idea of public speaking that gave me anxiety. I did theatre for
years; I have no problem speaking in public and I knew my topic well. I got
anxious when I found out that I would have to make a poster. Not only am I not
a very visual person in general, but my paper topic was very conceptual and
theoretical and did not lend itself very easily to visual representation.
Thankfully, the Honors Program offers two short workshops to
prepare everyone for the conference. While everyone had to attend a workshop
about how to present a poster, I opted to also attend the workshop on how to
create a poster. I furiously took notes and started working on it that night. While
I was able to format everything right, I still struggled to figure out how to
visually organize my topic. I stressed out about it for weeks. Unsurprisingly,
I finally had my flash of brilliance the day before the conference and stayed
up until the early hours of the morning working on my poster. In the end, the
stress was worth it and I could not be more proud of my poster.
Presenting at the Honors Student Conference was really the best experience. If I weren't a senior, I would already be looking to present again next year. If you're ever on the fence about presenting, do it and I promise you won't regret it.
had a really rough start at DePaul and almost dropped out. I don’t think I had
emotionally prepared myself for such a big change in my life. I was so homesick
and overwhelmed that for the first month of school, my dad would drive to
Chicago all the way from Madison every Thursday, pick me up right after my last
class, drive me home, and then drive me all the way back to Chicago on Sunday
night. I remember my parents begging me to just try to finish out the quarter. I
had a similar experience with International Studies as well—after I finished
the first course, I contemplated dropping International Studies as a major
because I thought I wasn’t smart enough and I just wasn’t good at it. I just
felt so inadequate.
I first came to college, my goal was just to graduate. I did not have high
expectations for myself at all. And when I think about that, I realize that
I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. All
throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point
during college, but I sort of doubted that I would ever actually go through
with it. Not only did I study abroad in Madrid, but I discovered that Spanish
political history is pretty interesting. I got back from studying abroad and
applied for my master’s (which never even crossed my mind in high school) so
that I could study Spanish political history. The kid who almost dropped out of
DePaul and International Studies because he thought he couldn’t handle it is
staying at DePaul for a fifth year so that he can get his master’s in
summer will be the first summer that I’m staying in Chicago rather than going back home. It’s sort of bittersweet because I feel like it means that I’m
finally officially an adult, but I’m also excited because I have a great
internship lined up, I get to work on my thesis, and I'm just ready to start a new phase of my life.
If you have a bad quarter
and your grades drop, you have plenty of opportunities to raise your GPA. Rough quarters happen to
the best of us. Whether you’re dealing with personal issues outside of class or you just don’t
understand the material in class, it’s way easier to recover your GPA in the quarter
system. Under the semester system, your final GPA is the average of eight
semesters. Under the quarter system, it’s the average of twelve quarters. So
when it comes time to calculate your overall GPA, a single semester has a way
bigger impact than a single quarter.
If you don’t particularly
like your professor, you don’t have to deal with them for that long. Somewhere along the line,
you’re inevitably going to end up taking a class with a professor who, for
whatever reason, you wouldn’t take again. The good news is that, in a quarter
system, your class with that professor only lasts for ten weeks rather than
fifteen weeks. You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The schedule just makes
way more sense. The semester system is fragmented in ways that the quarter
system isn’t. In a semester system, Thanksgiving break interrupts fall semester
and spring break divides spring semester. In the quarter system, Thanksgiving means
the end of fall quarter and the beginning of winter break, which is the entire
month of December. Spring break marks the end of winter quarter and the
beginning of spring quarter.
Let me know what you think about the quarter system!
If your group is working primarily on your computers, try
out one of the media:scape tables on the first floor of the library if you
haven’t already. While you can reserve the media:scape tables in the
Information Commons on the first floor of the library, the media:scape tables
in the Scholar’s Lab in the library are first come, first serve. Each
media:scape table has one or two big monitors, either a PC or a PC and a Mac,
and a bunch of connection cables for laptops. After everyone plugs their
laptops into the media:scape table, you can switch which screen is displayed on
the monitor with the push of a button. It’s especially amazing for doing
research as a group. Whenever someone finds a really helpful source, they can
push the button and everyone can see that same source up on the big screen.
If your group is a little more casual, or you’re just
studying for a test with a bunch of people, the SAC Pit is the place to go. While
the SAC Pit is super busy during the morning and early afternoon, it quiets
down and turns into a great place to study. If you’re looking for somewhere
quieter during the day, you can just go up to meet at one of the tables on the
second, third, or fourth floor of Levan Center, which is connected to the SAC.
The tables are right next to huge windows, which obviously provide tons of
light, and aren’t used nearly as often as they should be.
My other favorite place to meet up and study is at the Arts and Letters Hall, right across the street from Levan Center and the SAC. All
four floors of Arts and Letters have different arrangements of tables, couches,
and chairs that make studying a lot more comfortable. That being said, I get distracted way more often in Arts and Letters than I do anywhere else, so I can only study here when I'm feeling particularly motivated. It's one of the most popular places to meet for group work, so good luck finding a table during the day.
Good luck studying!
The most obvious benefit is straight-up proximity. There are
tons of jobs on both the Lincoln Park campus and the Loop campus. The first
year I worked at the library, I lived across the street from the library. I
could literally go from my bed to the front door of the library within four
minutes. You can’t beat that. You also can’t overstate the efficiency of being
able to get from class to work in minutes, which is why on-campus jobs are
especially convenient for commuters.
As you probably know, DePaul operates on the quarter system,
which is obviously different than the typical semester system. Unlike many
internships (most of which are based off of the semester system), on-campus
jobs are structured around the quarter system. So instead of trying to schedule
your classes around an internship that may overlap two or three weeks with the
next quarter, you can build your work schedule each quarter around your class
schedule. And if you drop a class or add a class early in the quarter and
realize that now you have class when you’re supposed to be working, most
supervisors are pretty willing to work with you and to be flexible to accommodate
your new schedule. You can expect supervisors to be extra understanding during
finals as well!
Furthermore, since on-campus jobs are based on the academic calendar, most jobs are reduced or optional during academic breaks. I’m very
close to my family, so I spend all my breaks at home. Even though the library
is open during breaks, I’ve never worked during a break (and I still have my
job!). Plus, if the university closes because of weather or something like
that, that most likely means that work is closed, too.
Nine times out of ten, I recommend searching for an on-campus job
rather than an off-campus job, especially if you’re like me and you’re lazy and
you don’t want to travel that far for work. I think an off-campus job is best
for those who really want experience in a specific, specialized field. But if
you’re just looking to earn some money on the side, you don’t need to look that
Like I’ve been saying, I’m fully aware that I literally only
post about foods that are either fried or covered in cheese, but DePaul
actually offers a ton of healthier options (and they also have recently started
selling egg-free cookie dough in little cups, so I can feel like a rule breaker without worrying about salmonella). In addition to an impressively
extensive salad bar, DePaul sells some pretty delicious sushi. I generally
avoid seafood like the plague, so I typically opt for the veggie rolls, which
substitute avocado for crab. For those who always opt for veggies over meat, it
seems like they’re always adding new vegan and vegetarian options.
Especially now that it’s getting warmer out, I sometimes
skip the gym and decide to go for a run along the beach instead. Just to stay
more active, I usually try to walk everywhere instead of jumping on the L. I’m just lucky that Lincoln Park is so nice to walk around and that there are so many
ice cream shops within walking distance. It all balances out in the end.
If you’re writing a resume for the first time, it can be
super intimidating. But luckily for you, DePaul has amazing resources to help
you construct your resume. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go visit
the Career Center (or, at the very least, their website). The Career Center
offers a ton of amazing services, but my favorite one is easily the resume reviews. You can meet with a Peer Career Advisor who can help you with any
questions you have about resumes, cover letters, and interviews. If you’re in a
rush, they also offer handy walk-in appointments. Even if you’re just updating
a resume that you know is already great, I still recommend meeting with a Peer
Career Advisor. I always think it’s best if you can find someone knowledgeable
to look over your resume before you submit it.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
I know a lot of people who get really hung up on how to ask a professor to write a letter
of recommendation. When I first had to ask a professor for a recommendation, I
didn’t know if I was supposed to ask them in person or if I could just ask over
email. I just ended up just stress-eating. Years later, I can tell you with great confidence
that the answer is whichever feels right to you. If you’re asking a professor
for a recommendation, you should be relatively familiar with them (hopefully
you’ve taken at least two classes with them). If the professor is more of an
old-school type, then I would ask in person. If your professor regularly uses
email or D2L to interact with the class, then they are probably cool being asked
over email. If you’re ever in doubt, be safe and ask in person.
Personally, I’ve always asked for letters of recommendation over email and let me tell you why. If someone agrees to write a letter of recommendation for you, they are doing you a favor. You should make it as easy as possible for them. Asking over email allows me to make sure that I include all of the information that the professor could possibly need and that the information is easily accessible for the professor. At a bare minimum, you should let the professor know where you’re applying, when the recommendation is due (try to give them at least a month before it’s due), and where to send the recommendation. But I like to add as much information as possible. I often summarize the company and position I’m applying to and let them know why I chose him/her for a recommendation. If the position lists any required skills or qualities that I know I’ve demonstrated in the professor’s class, I will explicitly tell them that I am hoping that they can speak about these specific skills. If the application requires that I respond to a written prompt or write a personal statement, I will attach that to the email. Adding more information will make the writing process easier for the professor and I promise it will result in a more personalized, detailed recommendation that will impress whoever reads it. And most importantly, I always write a handwritten thank you note to the professor after it’s all done and submitted. Gotta keep it classy.
case you didn’t know, the application period for most summer internships is right now. You can only imagine my
reaction when I found out that I had already missed the deadline to apply for
some summer internships (one of them literally closed on January 1st).
The sooner you start looking, the more options you will have. Also, if you need to get any letters of recommendation or if the application has any unique requirements (like a written response to some prompt), you're going to need time to prepare and complete your application.
What You’re Looking For
you even start searching, sit down and figure out what you’re looking for. Are
you able to work full-time or can you only manage part-time? What is your availability
during the summer? Can you afford an unpaid internship or do you need to be
paid? If you need to be paid, what’s the minimum you need to be paid? Figure
all of these questions out before you even start looking so you don’t waste
your time looking at jobs that won’t work for you.
finding interesting jobs can be the hardest part sometimes! Luckily, there are
so many resources available to you. For just a standard job search engine, I
like to use Indeed. But if you didn’t know, DePaul also has its own job search
engine called Handshake. In addition to listing on-campus interviews, after you
make a profile, Handshake points out all the jobs listed that you’re qualified for.
It’s a great tool, especially if you’re new to looking for jobs. Also, after you’ve
declared your major(s), make sure you’re receiving (and opening) all of the
emails sent from your department! Most departments regularly include job
listings in mass emails. And finally, talk to your professors and friends. Your
professors have most likely seen hundreds of students search for and
secure summer jobs in Chicago. They can tell you with which companies or
organizations past students have been successful. Your friends can do the same.
Ask them if they have heard of any openings or if they have seen anything that
might fit you (and obviously, if you see a job listing that sounds perfect for
someone you know, be a good friend and tell them about it).
should go without saying. Just like when you applied for college, don’t put all
your eggs in one basket. Apply to as many jobs as you find interesting. The
more options you give yourself, the better chance you have at actually getting
hired. Even after you've applied to several jobs, make it a habit to regularly search for any new job listings. I usually check every three to four days to see what's new. It can only help you.
After you’ve found some potential new jobs, it’s time to get some letters of
recommendation and polish your resume! Check back next week for more tips on
how to write the perfect resume and how to ask professors for recommendations!
It’s crazy to think about how my time as an undergraduate is
coming to a close. Last quarter, I completed the last of the requirements for
my Spanish major. After next quarter, I will have finished my International
Studies major and will be registered as a graduate student at DePaul. Right now,
though, I’m taking my final Honors class.
No matter what you study at DePaul (during your
undergraduate career, at least), you will have to take some series of liberal
arts classes to fulfill your degree requirements. For most students, this requirement
takes the form of the Liberal Studies Program. For other students, the Honors Program replaces the Liberal Studies Program. I know when I was applying for
the Honors Program, I really had no clue what it was. And now even as a senior,
I still meet students who have never heard about the Honors Program and know
nothing about it. With the deadline for Honors Program applications approaching
quickly (March 2nd, in case you were wondering), I thought this
would be a great time to talk about how the Honors Program differs from the
Liberal Studies Program.
The Liberal Studies Program is comprised of two parts: the
Common Core and the Learning Domains. The Common Core is a series of 7-8 classes
that all students in the program have to take, including the Chicago Quarter
class, the Focal Point Seminar, and the Sophomore Seminar on Multiculturalism.
The Learning Domains, on the other hand, are extremely broad categories. Each
student must take at least one class (depending on your major) from each of the
six Learning Domains. Each Learning Domain can be fulfilled by taking one of
~100 eligible electives.
The Honors Program is designed for students who want an extra
academic challenge. In particular, the Honors classes really emphasize writing
and critical analysis. That being said, participation in the Honors Program
severely limits your course options. While Honors students similarly have to
meet the same Common Core and Learning Domain requirements as Liberal Studies students, Honors students are
generally limited to the courses offered by the Honors department. For
instance, while Liberal Studies students can choose from a list of over 100 courses to fulfill the Arts and Literature requirement, Honors students take
HON101: World Literature (to be fair, the content of which can vary with the professor). While
I’ve heard of one or two people that really didn’t like the limited options, I
can say in all honesty that I’ve been genuinely satisfied with almost every
class I’ve taken in the Honors Program.
In addition to your transcript reading “Honors Program
Graduate,” the Honors Program offers a ton of perks. Seriously, I tell everyone
to apply to the Honors Program for one main reason: priority registration. At
DePaul, freshmen get last choice for signing up for classes. By the end of
registration week, a lot of classes are already full. As an Honors student, you
have first choice for signing up for classes, even before seniors. It’s amazing
(and a good way to make sure you always get the schedule you want). Beyond
that, the Honors classes are never more than 20 students. Never. I have four
years worth of emails from the Honors advisors reminding students not to waste
their time asking professors to make an exception for them. Because the program
is relatively small, you end up seeing a lot of familiar faces in your classes.
And if you want even more of a familial atmosphere, the Honors Program has its
own floor in Seton Hall.
The Honors Program may not be right for everyone, but I
recommend it to anyone who thinks it might be right for them. Check out their website and apply soon!
Speaking of food, if you’re anything like me, you’re
currently broke because you spent all your money buying new clothes to disguise
the fifteen pounds you gained over winter break. If that sounds like you (or
even if you’re lucky and didn’t gain fifteen pounds over break), you’re
probably looking for some cheap stuff to do during this quarter. Luckily for
you, I’ve found a ton of stuff to do over the next two and a half months!
I love to write about the DePaul Activities Board’s event
calendar. DAB always hosts events you actually want to go to. You all know what
I mean by that. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, you will already have
missed (or maybe not, I don’t know if you went) what may have possibly been the
event of the year: DePaul After Dark: Harry Potter. Every Thursday night, DAB
hosts DePaul After Dark at the Student Center. Each week has a different theme
with new activities. It’s always free and usually includes some sort of free
food and giveaways. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve ever looking
for stuff to do on a Thursday night.
It goes without saying that DAB does way more than just
DePaul After Dark. This quarter, in addition to a ton of smaller events,
including a Superbowl Party and an Oscar Viewing Party, DAB is going to host
two of its biggest annual events: the Blue Demon Dance and Polarpalooza. The
Blue Demon Dance is the culminating event of Blue Demon Week, a week dedicated
to fostering school spirit at DePaul. This year, the Blue Demon Dance is being
held on January 29th at Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier. Tickets are
only $10 and totally worth it.
Last, but definitely not least, is Polarpalooza, DePaul’s
free winter concert! I give DAB credit for somehow always picking acts that get
way bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun., Walk the Moon,
Chance the Rapper). Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your
game if you want to go. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall for a
private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Be sure to check out their website on January 22nd when they reveal the artist who will be
When I told you that I found a ton of stuff to do this
quarter, I wasn’t exaggerating. Check back next week to find out about more free
events happening on campus this quarter!
Speaking of food, if you’re anything like me, you’re
currently broke because you spent all your money buying new clothes to disguise
the fifteen pounds you gained over winter break. If that sounds like you (or
even if you’re lucky and didn’t gain fifteen pounds over break), you’re
probably looking for some free things to do during this quarter. Luckily for
you, I’ve found a ton of free stuff to do over the next two and a half months.
Every quarter, I write about the DePaul Activities Board’s
event calendar. DAB always hosts events you actually want to go to. You all
know what I mean. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, you will already
have missed (or maybe not, I don’t know if you went) what may have possibly
been the event of the year: DePaul After Dark: Harry Potter. I’m not sure what
Battle of the Brands: Happy Chocolate Cake Day is (you better believe I will be
there to find out on January 27th), but it will probably help get
you out of the pit of despair that you fell in when you found out you missed
Harry Potter night. And I haven’t even mentioned Polarpalooza, DePaul’s free
winter concert! They haven't announced who is performing yet, but I give DAB credit for somehow always picking acts that get way
bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun., Walk the Moon, Chance the Rapper).
This would be a great place for a super smooth transition
into talking about another on-campus entity with fun events, but I don’t have a
good transition. I do have another on-campus entity with fun events, though! I’m
currently taking my Honors Capstone and my professor is
the director of the Humanities Center, which I had never really looked into prior to taking the class. After he passed out a
flyer in class with all the events for this quarter, I was instantly devastated
that I had missed out on years of these… eclectic events. While these events
may be slightly more academic than you had hoped for, there’s a reason that I’m
so excited about them. Let me give you an idea of the insanity that has
apparently been taking place at the Humanities Center for years without my
knowledge: Next quarter, there’s an event about Moby-Dick that includes a
screening of Star Trek II. Let that sink in.
During this quarter, the Humanities Center is hosting five
events and I will be at all of them. My two favorites? On February 8th, you have the
opportunity to attend an event about Noah’s Ark comprising of an opera
performance, a lecture on Noah and animal rights, and a climate change
scientist giving his interpretation of the parable of Noah. Or perhaps you want
to join me on March 7th for the newest installment in the “Hungry
Hungry Humanities” series, “Eating is Understanding.” At this event, billed as
interactive foodie event,” the first 100 audience members get a bento box
filled with food to eat throughout the presentation.
Let me know what you're planning on doing this quarter!
Combined BA/MA programs are relatively new in the grand
scheme of higher education. You can see the ever-growing list of DePaul’s BA/MA
programs here (they’re the ones with the asterisks). The conventional path to a
master’s usually takes six years: four years to earn your bachelor’s and another two to earn your master’s. At DePaul, the BA/MA programs allow you to complete both
your bachelor’s and your master’s within five years. On top of that, the BA/MA
program cuts the cost of a master’s almost in half!
In my BA/MA program, the BA/MA students and the regular
master’s students have the same class requirements. The difference is the
distribution of those classes. During the two years of a regular master’s
program, a full course load is generally two classes per quarter. Right now,
during the senior year of my undergrad, I will be taking one graduate class and
three undergraduate classes each quarter. Next year, I’ll be taking three
graduate classes each quarter. So while it’s a shorter program, it is
definitely more intense.
If you’re thinking about going for your master’s, but the
price is intimidating you, I would definitely suggest looking into the BA/MA
programs. The three graduate classes that I take this year are covered by my
undergraduate tuition (and the credits go towards both my bachelor’s and my
master’s). But that’s not even the best part. The real MVP is the Double Demon Scholarship. Before I met with my advisor, I had never heard of the Double Demon
Scholarship in my life. Don’t let the ridiculous name fool you. It’s pretty
amazing. If you went to DePaul for your undergrad, and you’re coming back for a
graduate program, you receive 25% off all of your graduate credits. So not only
am I getting twelve graduate credits included in my undergraduate tuition, but
the rest of my credits are discounted.
How much does that actually change the cost? The conventional two-year master’s program in International
Studies at DePaul will cost $32,552. For me to earn my master’s through the
BA/MA program, I will pay $18,503. That’s a savings of $14,049, not to mention
a year of my time (which is priceless, as everyone who knows me will tell you).
Right now, I’m loving the program. All the International
Studies grad classes are held at night, so it has been really easy to schedule
around (especially since night classes only meet once per week). It’s
definitely a new level of stress to be balancing the requirements of three
undergrad classes and a grad class at the same time. But to me, a little extra
stress is worth saving the money and time.
who knows me knows about my laughable attention span. So naturally, the hardest
thing to do is to get away from distractions. I physically gravitate towards
distractions, so this just kills me. Sometimes you really need to get work done and the Candy Crush request notifications just won't stop. There have been times when I have had to take extreme measures. I
have (in order of insanity): turned off my phone, taken the batteries out of my
remote, placed my phone on the other side of my room, and at my lowest moment,
I even turned off my WiFi. But I got my work done, and that's what is important.
Spread It Out
I’m not one of those annoying people who believe that you should write “a
paragraph a day” or any of that nonsense. Honestly, I have yet to meet someone who
actually does that. I am very much someone who has to write an entire paper at
once. Nevertheless, I still spread my work out. How? One day, I might pick my
topic and find some sources. Another day, I might outline my argument. Then,
usually at the last moment, I write the paper. No matter what, I know I will put off the actual writing until the last second, so anything I can do in advance to prepare just makes my life easier. Try different ways of
dividing the work and see what works best for you!
Phone A Friend
poor friend Joanna can tell you, I’m a talker. I talk all of my ideas out.
Unfortunately for her, she’s always around when I have an epiphany about my
thesis, so she is routinely forced to listen to me go over my argument. If you're
struggling with a concept or you’re not sure if you're making sense, try to
talk it out with your friends (especially if they’re in the class too!). Most
of the time, they will be able to tell you where you’re going wrong or give you
Not all friends are made the same and it's up to you to pick one who will make
your paper better, not worse.
struggling up a storm (we’ve all been there), you can make an appointment to
meet with a Writing Center tutor. They can help you with almost anything you
need. If you’re trying to clarify or strengthen an argument, write your thesis
statement, fix grammar, or whatever, they can go over your essay with
you. They won’t write it for you, but they can help you every step of
the way. And for the record, they can
even help with papers for foreign language classes!
to the Source
obvious and most underutilized resource you have: your professor. If there is
something you don’t understand about your assignment, you can’t pick a
topic, or you just need a little guidance, no one can help you more than your
professor. DePaul professors are usually really good about being open and
available for questions. Obviously, this varies from professor to professor.
I’ve had professors who were only willing to meet during office hours or who wouldn’t reply to emails on weekends. I’ve also had professors who hand out
their home phone number and tell students not to hesitate to call if they ever
have any question. One of my professors even came in on a weekend to meet with
me. No matter what, professors are there to help and want you to do your best, so don’t be
afraid to talk to them!
getting ready to write a ton of essays for my finals, so if you have any more
tips, let me know!
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the library has lots of books (and DVDs and CDs).
But what if the library doesn’t have the exact book you’re looking for? Through
the library catalog (found on the library's homepage), you can request books from other libraries as well! Most
of your requests will come from in-state (through I-Share), but if no I-Share
member has the book, it will come from the next closest place (through ILLiad), whether that be
University of Chicago (which strangely isn’t a member of I-Share), or somewhere
in Australia (what book could you be looking for!?). Right now, I have a book
from University of Connecticut. Even better, you can do all of this requesting from
the comfort of your home so you never have to get out of bed!
If you’re doing research and having a hard time finding
sources on your topic (we all know that struggle), there’s a research help desk in the library! They can
help you find sources, navigate databases, refine your search terms, anything
you need. They’re amazing. Even more amazing is how accessible they are. If you
can’t make it to the library, you can call them, email them, or even chat with
them online. If you’re really struggling with your research, you can make a
one-on-one appointment with the research help desk for up to an hour!
If you’re like me, there are times when you are trying to
distract yourself from the disaster that is your academic career. In case you
haven’t heard, the library now rents video game consoles. Yes, you read that
right. You can check out an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo
3DS, or PlayStation Vita from the library (and the library in the Loop has even
more to offer!). If you already have a console, there are dozens of videogames to
choose from (for older consoles, too)!
Probably the most popular feature of the library is the study rooms. If you’re doing group work, you can reserve a private room so you can
all work together without being bothered (or bothering anyone else). If you’re
trying to work on a presentation or watch a movie with a group, you might want
to reserve one of the media:scape tables or theaters (which is just a booth
instead of separate chairs, but it’s so comfortable and highly recommended). What’s
cool about media:scape is that each table (or theater) has two big computer
monitors that you can either hook your laptop up to or you can use the PC
attached to the monitors. Either way, it’s a really easy way for everyone in
your group to be able to look at the same screen!
there's nothing worse than having computer problems while you're in the middle
of writing a paper. Last year, my brand new (well, refurbished) laptop suddenly
refused to charge right while I was writing my final paper. As you
can probably imagine, I just immediately started crying. After three hours of
waiting, I was able to get an appointment at the Apple Store (conveniently located
one stop south on the Red Line). If I had been thinking at all, I could have
brought my laptop to the Genius Squad at the library and I
wouldn't have lost those three hours (and I probably would have had time to
realize I somehow used two different colored fonts). The students working
at the Genius Squad are always super friendly, helpful, and quick. I still owe
them for helping me get WiFi on my Xbox during my freshman year.
I get way too excited talking about the library. I honestly had to delete stuff from this blog because I was going
overboard. Rather than listen to me go on and on, go and check it out
yourself next time you're on campus!
Not wanting to confuse myself with another foreign language, I chose to take on a second major, despite having no clue what that major would be. At the suggestion of my advisor, I took some sociology classes, but I quickly realized it just wasn’t for me. One night, after scrolling through the majors offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences while having a
marathon of all four of the Halloweentown movies, I made the rash decision to
declare a major in International Studies.
I don’t know why I chose International Studies. I didn’t really know anything about the major and I didn’t know anyone else who was in the program. To be honest, I was just lazy and wanted to be done with picking my second major.
After the first meeting of my first International Studies class, I was pretty sure I could not have made more wrong of a choice. I was super intimidated by everyone and felt so out of place. I was tempted to drop the major right then and there, but my pride got the best of me and I decided to stick it out for the rest of the quarter. At the end of the quarter, I had made so many friends in the International Studies department that I decided to take one more class to prove to myself that it wasn’t the right major for me (that makes total sense, right?).
I walked into that second class prepared to drop International Studies and pick a new major. I had been looking at possible new majors the night before. By the end of the first week of the second class, I couldn’t remember ever wanting to drop. I was calling my parents and telling them that the major was the greatest thing to ever happen to me.
Two years later, I’ve just started the 5-year BA/MA program in International Studies. The BA/MA program is an accelerated program that allows me to get both my bachelor’s and my master’s within five years. Instead of completing my bachelor's in four years and spending another two on my master's, I start taking graduate classes during the senior year of my undergraduate career. Basically, I eliminate the second year of graduate school. Not only do I save that much time, but the graduate classes I take during my senior year are included in my undergraduate tuition and I get a 25% discount on the other grad classes because I also will have completed my bachelor's at DePaul (and you know I love to save money).
The moral of the story is that if you're trying to find the right major for you, keep looking. I promise it's out there. And if you already have found the perfect major for you, push yourself and go as far as you can with it! And if your program offers a 5-year BA/MA, do it (it's a pretty solid deal).
After 21 years of life, I have finally accepted that I’m just an excitable person. Almost everything excites me. I genuinely called my dad at work today because I was so excited that there was a sale on yogurt at the grocery store. Five minutes later, I called him again because I saw a food truck. That being said, nothing excites me (and stresses me) more than the first week of school.
It doesn’t help that I always see the beginning of the school year as the start of a new era of Willy. I get myself way too amped up about the possibilities of scholarly excellence. In my eyes, it’s basically the academic equivalent of New Year’s Day; each year, I make promises to myself that I won’t avoid homework by sitting in bed and binge-watching 30 Rock
while eating a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough. I make my annual pledge to not procrastinate and to work ahead. Just like New Year’s resolutions, I give up my lofty academic aspirations by the end of the week.
Nevertheless, the first week of school does bring many changes, even if I may not change. This year, for me, it means a new residence, new bedding (less than a week and I’ve already spilled pizza sauce on it), a new schedule, a new shirt, and a new notebook. It’s almost too much excitement for me. I found myself planning when to buy my ~special~ notebook from the bookstore a week in advance (I swear by this notebook and credit it for all of my success). But buying that notebook is part of my ritual that takes place before the start of each quarter. My ritual helps me to live my best life and to readjust to campus life.
In addition to buying my notebook (and bulk buying Megabus tickets,
but that’s another story), there are three other parts to my ritual:
1. I always hit up the websites for DePaul Activities Board (DAB) and for the Office of Student Involvement. At the
beginning of each quarter, DAB releases their event calendar (around which I
plan my personal calendar). My favorite
programs are the movie premieres, where they hand out free tickets to the
premiere of a popular movie. This quarter, the premiere is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, so you better believe I will be near the head of the line.
I also visit the Office of Student Involvement to see which shows are being
offered through DemonTix, DePaul’s discount ticket program. Last spring, I got tickets
to Book of Mormon through DemonTix, so now I watch that site like a hawk.
3. In general, I try to snoop around and find out
what’s new at DePaul. For instance, I’ve discovered that the library now rents video games AND video game consoles. So if you want to try out PS4 or Xbox One,
you know where to go. Also, a lot of the menus have changed at the Student
Center, so look for a future blog where I review those changes (and most likely
mourn the loss of the Santa Fe breakfast sandwich).
Let me know if you have any sort of
ritual that you do before you start school!