DeBlogs > Willy Subach
Meet the Cookie Dough Brownie in the photo above. It’s a brownie (obviously) covered in a thick layer of cookie dough, then splashed with some chocolate ganache, and topped with some chocolate chip cookie crumbles. My mom and I both loved it (my dad got his favorite—the lemon bar).
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!
The Vic is a popular concert venue located close enough to campus that I routinely
pass it while I walk to get ice cream. When The Vic isn’t hosting a concert,
The Vic becomes The Brew and View, one of the most underrated and
underappreciated institutions in the area. In a pinch, The Brew and View can be
the quintessential cheap date; most nights, you can go watch a double- or
triple-feature for only $5. Where it can become pricey (for me, at least) is food and beverages (shocker).
For whatever reason, The Brew and View sells White Castle hamburger sliders and I can
never say no.
you and your special someone have eaten too many White Castle sliders
yourselves (or you just want to enjoy a nice day), it might be time to finally
try out those blue bikes you always see everyone riding. Divvy Bikes offers a 24-hour pass
for just $10, allowing you to take an unlimited amount of trips for a whole day. The caveat to
this deal is that you can only take a bike out for up to 30 minutes at a time
before you have to return it to any Divvy station (but once you return your bike, you're free to immediately take out another bike!). Divvy bike stations can literally be found all over
the city (as evidenced by the map of Divvy bike stations), so finding a station
is never too much of a hassle.
you and your not-so-secret admirer are both DePaul students, why not spend a
few hours becoming cultured at the Art Institute of Chicago? While tickets for
the Art Institute can usually be a little expensive (especially on a student’s
budget), you can get free tickets just by showing your DePaul ID at the ticket
desk! The Art Institute is home to some of the most famous paintings,
sculptures, and installations in the world. Suggesting the Art Institute is a
surefire way to impress your significant other.
You can never get enough of Garrett Popcorn (but
really everyone calls it Garrett’s and I just learned it’s actually Garrett).
There's a reason that there's often a line out the door for it. Garrett Popcorn
is best known for their Garrett Mix (formerly, and more popularly, known as the
Chicago Mix until a trademark kerfuffle forced them to change the name), a mix
of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn. No one does cheese popcorn like
Garrett’s. Note: ask for extra napkins. If you thought Cheeto dust was hard to
get off your fingers, just wait until you try Garrett’s cheese popcorn.
Embarrassing story: throughout my first year in
Chicago, because I’m stupid, I always heard Illuminati whenever people said Lou Malnati’s and I would wonder why they’re talking about the Illuminati and
pizza. Luckily, Lou Malnati’s has no known affiliation with the Illuminati.
But, they are known for having some of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza
in all of Chicago. And since Chicago is obviously going to have the best
Chicago-style pizza, that means that Lou Malnati’s probably has some of the
best Chicago-style pizza in the world. Even better, there’s a Lou Malnati’s a couple blocks off of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, so it’s convenient as well!
While people will always argue over the authenticity
of different Chicago-style hot dogs, Portillo’s is definitely one of the more
popular and more common places to get a hot dog. Or if you're brave, try out
The Wiener’s Circle, which is right in Lincoln Park. The Wiener’s Circle is
legendary not just for its food, but also for its “feisty” late night interactions
between staff and customers on the weekends.
I'm not totally sure if Chicago has any claim to a
famous dessert, but if it does, it might be the chocolate cake shake at
Portillo's. Hypothetically, that means you can kill two birds with one stone if
you get a hot dog and a chocolate cake shake at Portillo’s. The chocolate cake
shake is exactly what you’d think it would be. It’s literally ice cream and
chocolate cake blended together. What could be better than that? Now Portillo's
is a chain with restaurants all around Illinois, so it may not be a big deal to
people from Illinois, but to this Wisconsinite, it's the biggest deal.
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
Almost nine years after my first Spanish class, I’ve
officially completed my Spanish major. After I finished my last Spanish class
last fall, I realized that I never have to take another Spanish class again. Pretty bittersweet. Two
months later, my friend, who knows four languages and makes me feel terrible
about myself, told me about the DELE test. Let’s talk about why I’m kicking
myself for not taking a Spanish class this quarter.
The DELE test is basically a Spanish fluency exam endorsed
by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. So when my friend mentioned it, I
imagined it being like the ACT or SAT. I thought I’d casually go in and take a test and
they would tell me how fluent I am. NOPE. It’s no joke. You register to test
for one of six fluency levels and then it’s 4+ hours of writing, reading, listening,
and talking. If you pass, you’re certified at that level. If you don’t pass,
then you just end up wasting $150. That stresses me out. By the time I take
this test, it will have been five months since I was last in a Spanish class. Of
course no one told me about this test when I came back from studying abroad in
Spain and was at the top of my Spanish game. I basically sounded like a
telenovela at that point in my life. Now I can barely pronounce the menu at a
Like a geek, I bought the big study book in order to prepare
myself. A day later, I’m already realizing that I’m in over my head. You may be wondering
why I’m doing this to myself. I’m sort of wondering that, too. In all honesty, I just
think it’d be nice to have an official certificate saying that I’m fluent at a
specific level, rather than just saying that I majored in Spanish. I think it’d be something nice to have on my resume.
Furthermore, since I’m done with Spanish classes, my Spanish is only going to
get worse (unless, of course, I somehow get a Spanish-speaking job or move out
of the country or become famous for my rendition of "Genio Atrapado"). If I do move, the certificate is internationally recognized
and if I pass the level that I’m attempting to test into, I will officially be
fluent enough to enroll in Spanish universities. Since it’s permanent and I’d
never have to take the test again, I might as well take it as soon as possible.
It’s not like I have anything else going on in my life right now.
Go on a Walk
Whenever I get stressed, I constantly go on walks. I don’t
know if that’s me subconsciously trying to run away from responsibility or me
trying to work off all of the food that I stress eat, but I’m always walking.
Fortunately for me, Lincoln Park is an amazing place to walk around. Who could
blame me for always walking when I get to walk on the beach and see the
Obviously, it goes without saying that going on a walk can
constitute a workout. In fact, I’d be lying to you if I told you that I’ve never
gone on a walk to an ice cream store and then called it my workout for the day
(truthfully, I did this three times last weekend). But still, for some people, walking
outside doesn’t have the same effect as going to gym and jogging on the
treadmill or hitting the weights. Working out can be especially helpful if you’re
struggling to focus or if you just can't sit still and you have to use up some energy.
Treat Yo Self
I feel like I say this in every other blog post: I’m a
stress eater. I always joked about being one, but I recently realized I genuinely
stress eat without even noticing it. So instead of passively letting myself
stress eat everything in sight (the other week I ate a burger, a sub, a bowl of
soup, and three desserts from Sweet Mandy B’s just for lunch), I have started
taking a more active approach. If I feel myself getting super stressed or if I
know that I have a stressful day coming up, I try to stock up on my favorite
healthy snacks and buy only one dessert from Sweet Mandy B’s instead of three.
Take a Break
Duh. If you know that you’re starting to get overwhelmed,
shut it all down for a while. The other night, I was once again stressed about
a different paper that I had to write. I woke up super early (which was my
first mistake) and had been working on it all day. I was getting hangry and burnt out, it was just not a good situation. So I just shut everything down and took a break. I ordered a pizza from
Pizza Hut (they messed up my order, but that’s another story that I’m still
bitter about) and watched The Craft. An hour and a half later, I was back to
working on my essay and in a much better mood.
A lot of people unwind by cooking, baking, drawing,
painting, writing, or knitting. Taking an hour to create something or continue
working on a project can help take your mind off of schoolwork. Plus, some
people find it especially therapeutic to be able to see the finished product or
the progress they’ve made. When you return to schoolwork, you might find that
you can focus on your work much more easily.
Let me know if you have any special ways that you cope with
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.
Barn and Company is seriously four or five blocks away from campus (not to mention pretty hard to miss), yet it seems like no one knows it exists. That’s a shame. Barn and Company has some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had. It’s worth mentioning that I once talked to the owner who casually mentioned that Dave often stops by when he’s in town. Who is Dave, you ask? The Famous Dave’s Dave. That Dave. If it’s good enough for Famous Dave, it’s good enough for you. I highly recommend going for their Friday special: the $12.99 Chicken, Pork, and Ribs Platter.
Branko’s Sandwich Shop is absolutely one of the most underappreciated restaurants I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s located directly across the street from the Quad on Fullerton. The family who runs it is comprised of the nicest, sweetest people you could imagine. I genuinely don’t have enough good things to say about them. Branko’s is the greasy diner you’re always looking for. Whenever I have a craving for cheese fries or a Pizza Puff (one of my favorite foods in the world), this is where I go. The unexpected winner on the menu: the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. If you know anything about me, you know I wouldn’t recommend a chicken sandwich if it weren’t absolutely spectacular.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is getting a mention because I have such a sentimental connection
with it. I’ve written about my experiences studying abroad in Madrid. I’ve been
back for over a year and I still miss it. One of the things I miss most is the
food. Luckily for me, DePaul is near one of the best Spanish tapas restaurants
in Chicago. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! just celebrated its 30th anniversary
and trust me, there’s a reason that it’s been around for so long. If you go,
get the croquetas. They are the food I miss most from Madrid and they’re
amazing at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
but not least, State Restaurant is literally my life. You can ask anyone who
knows me and they will tell you that my life revolves around State. It’s
located a block off of campus and I have their weekly specials memorized. Why would I memorize the weekly specials? Because the weekly specials are amazing. Every Wednesday, almost everything on the menu is $5.99. On Thursdays and Fridays, almost everything on the menu is $6.99. Where else can you get a truffle burger for $5.99!? I’m not ashamed at all to admit that I’m obsessed with State. State also apparently hosts some intense trivia contests (with cash prizes) every Tuesday night and I want to go so bad. Let me know if you’re a walking encyclopedia so I can have you on my team.
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!
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!
Why did I insist on living in the city if I wasn’t going to take advantage of it? I’m that person who always dismisses everything as being “too tourist-y”, while always secretly wanting to go up to the Skydeck. So I decided to bust out the (figurative) fanny pack and try to approach Chicago like a tourist would! Since this spring, I’ve decided to abandon my pretensions and make it a point to actively seek out tourist-y types of activities (although I have retained my dignity and continue to refuse to take a picture of my reflection on the Bean).
At the same time, I’m (obviously) a student, so I have no time for tourist prices. Honestly, I only finally went up to the Skydeck because I realized I could use my airline points from my flight to Madrid to buy passes. Because you can’t use points on everything, I have a few discounted suggestions for fall and winter.
I’m not going to lie: I used to be a theatre nerd. And I still love theatre. Tickets can run super expensive though, so I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to score cheap tickets. Like I’ve mentioned 1001 times, the Office of Student Involvement sells discounted tickets for at least one show per quarter, so they’re always my go-to. Another great resource is HotTix,
literally a website dedicated to discount theatre tickets. I also regularly
check Broadway in Chicago’s website for special offers. This is where they will
announce if a show will be doing lottery or student rush. This is how I got to
sit in the front row of Wicked for only $25!
After Dominick’s closed (R.I.P.) and before the Whole Foods
opened up on campus, I would walk to Trader Joe’s to get all my groceries. The
weather was beautiful today, so I decided to walk there and pick up a few
things. One of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s is its huge assortment of
seasonal goods and decorations. Now as I’ve said, I’m an easily excitable person,
so you can imagine my reaction when I walked into Trader Joe’s today and saw
pumpkin flavored everything, including Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter. If you’ve
had Cookie Butter, you know why this is so exciting. If you’ve never had Cookie
Butter, you better have a good reason why not. If you’ve never heard of Cookie
Butter, go read this famous blog entry about it. After 25 minutes on the phone
with my mother, narrating every pumpkin flavored item I found to her, I was
finally prepared to check out.
Now this is where my story just gets straight up shameful and embarrassing. I’ve truly hit a new low in my life. I’ve hit rock bottom. To paint the picture: my dad had just called to tell me about this showing of Hocus Pocus at a cemetery in Chicago in a few nights. As a child of the immediate gratification generation, I immediately want to watch Hocus Pocus, but I’m obviously not home yet and I’ve lent my DVD player to someone who hasn’t returned it (you know who you are). So here I am, walking home with both my groceries and a burning desire to watch Hocus Pocus.
After I get home and recover from my shame spiral, I grab some apple cider and my pumpkin pie flavored yogurt and I surf the web, as the kids like to call it. I’m pulling up sources to write my blog when I inevitably end up on DePaul Activities Board’s website. I notice an event I had not noticed
before: a Halloweentown Party. Even though they aren’t showing my favorite, Halloweentown High, you better believe I have literally cleared my schedule in order to go. I expect to see you all there with me, eating as many pumpkin flavored baked goods as you can handle.
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!