Articles by Zoe Krey

Political Science Watch Party

My four-year plan changed. As most of them do.

Most notably, it turned into a three-year-and-one-quarter plan. But also worth noting, it started in the realm of political science.

I began my journey at DePaul with a strong belief that my calling in life was to be a lawyer. I was going to become Elle Woods (minus all the pink), and ultimately rule the world. However, as I progressed through DePaul, I started to become more interested in public relations and advertising. 

Debate
At the end of my sophomore year at DePaul, I declared my secondary major as public relations and advertising​. The rest is history. 

Although my dreams of being a lawyer have been postponed (who knows, maybe one day I’ll go to law school), I couldn’t be happier that I gained a political science degree. Being a political science major has taught me how to be pragmatic and assess situations from all sides. It has taught me how to break up dense information, conduct research, and has strengthened my writing skills. 

Every single one of my classes was thought provoking and very useful. Despite hoping to pursue a career in public relations once I graduate this Thanksgiving, being a political science major has shaped the way I think, and I know I’m smarter because of it. Plus, it has given me the opportunity to join Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honors society. 

Last year, I had the pleasure of serving the club as Vice President, and was able to create my own initiatives and help out at the new member induction ceremony. It was an awesome way to end my year on the board. 

For the first presidential debate this week, Pi Sigma Alpha and the political science department hosted a watch party for students. It’s awesome to be a part of a community that is so interested in politics. 

Need advice on declaring your major? Let me know. But understand that adding majors or changing them isn’t as dramatic as it seems :)

Keep Calm and Senior Year

Ten weeks. That’s it. 

As I begin my fall quarter this year, I also begin my last quarter at DePaul...ever. On the one hand, no more late night trips to the library, finals week, or homework. On the other hand, no more “free” gym membership, L pass, or summer break either. 

I have mixed feelings about the end of my journey at DePaul. I’m excited to enter the real world and use my degree, but I’m sad to leave the routine of school and my campus community. While it’ll be nice to never have to attend a class again, it’s also new territory. The last time I wasn’t in school was a good sixteen years ago, which is crazy.

What is life without school? I’m not sure. I think I’ll have to pick up a new skill like piano ​or a language to fill the void of class and homework. 

St. Vincent Circle
Until then, I’m dedicated to the job search. (Shameless plug: If you know of anyone in need of an aspiring public relations professional, please let me know.) This summer I sharpened up my resume, did some job market research, and finished up an amazing internship with Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. I’m optimistic about finding a job, but let’s see if I feel the same way in five weeks…

My classes this quarter are ideal, but my schedule, not so much. It figures that my worst schedule would occur when I had the earliest registration time. I’m taking two political science classes and my final public relations requirement. A mere 12 credit hours stand between me and graduation. That’s a hurdle I know I can jump.

So here we go! The ten-week stretch. What’s life got in store for me as a DePaul grad? We all will just have to wait and see.


And That's a Wrap!

I always love when my friends from the suburbs come to visit me in Chicago at the end of spring quarter. It gives me an excuse to walk to The Bean and take silly pictures, and to ignore the fact that I’m still in school.

The only time I curse the quarter system with all my might is inevitably when all my friends get out of school a month earlier than I do. Their freedom rubs off on me, and I get dazed and confused about the fact that I still have to go to a week of classes and finals.

But, it’s hard to be sad when the weather is this beautiful in the city. My friends visited me last weekend, and we spent the sunny afternoon sitting along the lakeshore, attending Chicago street festivals, and eating way too much.

After coming to the sad realization that it’s beach season, and my nonexistent exercise routine that I worked so hard at during the winter has not prepared me for swimsuit shopping, I’ve decided it’s time to make a lifestyle change. No more nightly Kit Kat to reward myself for making it through the day. No more eating out everyday. And, for the first time all year, I even stepped foot into the Ray.

Yikes...it took me 2.8 quarters (a.k.a. 28 weeks) to walk into the gym. But, I’m slowly getting back into the habit. With no school work this summer and a part-time internship, it’s time to spend my energy elsewhere. I’ve also found out that a summer membership to the Ray​ only costs $42, which is a steal considering you get to attend fitness classes as well.​

Like always, I can’t believe that this school year has come to a close. Thinking that I’ll only be at DePaul for 10 more weeks next year is something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. It won’t be reality until I walk out of my last class next quarter, and realize that I’ll never have to do that again (until graduate school, that is). 

With entirely no plans for post-graduation this November, who knows where I’ll be at this time next year. I could uproot and move to a different city after landing a dream job. Or, I could stay in the city that I now call home Chicago. Hopefully, this summer I’ll start figuring it all out. But, until then, good luck on finals!
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The Misanthrope

This quarter I’ve been spending a lot more time on campus. With my Mondays now free, I typically spend my whole day in Lincoln Park. Besides spending too much money at the DePaul Whole Foods, I have been regularly reading our campus message boards and have found out about some pretty cool activities on campus.

While I admittedly jot down most of these activities in my planner, never to be revisited again, last week I actually followed through on something. Buying a ticket with my roommate to see The Misanthrope by Moliere​, I decided to take a trip to the DePaul Theater School on the corner of Racine and Fullerton.

Arriving to the theater just before the show started, I was a bit flustered as I sat down and took in my surroundings. The Fullerton stage is small and intimate; the glow of the lighting reaches all audience members, leaving no one completely in the dark.

The stage set a beautiful scene, highlighting a fancy foyer with large bay windows. Two double doors on each side of the stage acted as the entrance and exit points for the characters during the play.

The play itself was smart and quick. The characters were outspoken and comical, and all of the play’s lines rhymed, which is automatically very impressive. While I won’t spoil anything from the play, DePaul’s interpretation was marvelous, not that I’ve ever read the original or seen a different version.

I always appreciate DePaul Theater School plays. For only $5, not enough students take advantage of this opportunity. Plus, who knows which future famous actor or actress you might see on stage at DePaul.



Bogdan the Carwasher

Another quarter, another nerd fest. Earlier this month, I packed up my poster, thumb tacks and blazer, and headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry to attend this year’s Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Bringing together hundreds of college students in the Chicagoland area, participants present their posters and speeches to a group of judges from the Chicago universities. I created a poster based on my honors thesis paper from last quarter because who wouldn’t want to translate 60 pages into a four-foot by three-foot space?

After various rounds of edits, my poster was finally ready to print. I admittedly almost forgot to print the poster, and I blame this on the fact that creating it was just so much effort.

Being the truly resourceful college student that I am, I also scored myself some free thumb tacks from the SAC Pit by volunteering to clean up our campus message boards. Ingenious.

When I got to the conference, I checked in, received a name tag and headed over to the West Pavilion to hear the welcome remarks from the event’s keynote speaker. Much to my surprise, the keynote speaker was renowned scientist Dr. Marius Stan.  While I honestly had no idea who Dr. Stan was, I did recognize him from his role in "Breaking Bad" as Bogdan the carwash owner.

The U-505 Submarine!

While Dr. Stan researches intelligence software to understand and predict the physics and chemistry of materials, he also has made a name for himself in acting. 

While being an extra one day on the set of “Breaking Bad,” the director asked him to say a line for him, and Bogdan the carwasher was born! Back for consecutive seasons, Dr. Stan became an integral part of “Breaking Bad.”

Dr. Stan’s speech was amazing. His double life was fascinating to hear about, and I hope that I am as fortunate to find two careers that I am passionate about, rather than just one.

Compared to the opening remarks, the rest of conference was definitely anti-climactic. Research on research on research, I escaped to explore the rest of the museum and was not disappointed. The coolest part was seeing the U-505 submarine ​from World War II. It was huge and very well preserved.

And with that, the research conference came to a close for me. I dipped out early, but not before getting my free t-shirt. Now that’s how you attend a research conference.​

DePaul Internship Credit

As someone who has juggled a full-time class load with a full-time internship, it can be overwhelming. Last quarter I learned my lesson, and this quarter I tweaked my game plan.

Enrolling in an advanced internship course through DePaul’s College of Communication, I am now receiving college credit for my marketing internship. Classified as a communication elective and a fulfillment for my junior year experiential learning requirementI go to my internship as normal and also complete career development assignments for class on the side.

I decided to enroll in an online course with DePaul career specialist and instructor Michael Elias. At first, I was skeptical of the course's assignments. Would setting goals and having my supervisor sign them actually change my work habits? Did I really need to upload a recording of my elevator pitch and receive critiques from classmates? 

The answers? Yes, yes and yes.

Michael’s class has helped me not only in my internship, but also in my personal career development. I feel confident about going into my next networking event and introducing myself and my career goals to complete strangers. 

Our final assignment consists of making our own online portfolio, in which we showcase our accomplishments and essentially, our personal brand.  While the final project is somewhat intensive, the course load itself is very light, not causing students to be overworked with the balance of class and their internship.

Be sure to check out internship courses at DePaul for a great way to earn class credit and gain real-world experience, while also making a buck or two.

Losing Wisdom, Gaining Strength

​​​My spring break left much to be desired.

As fun as getting all four of my impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed was, I just felt like my time could have been spent more usefully. Laughing gas, pain pills, and Netflix helped to numb the effects of the extraction, but nothing could have prepared me for recovery road.

I’m a worry wort. I worry over things I can and cannot control. So naturally, I worried about my healing mouth for a majority of my recovery. As the words “dry sockets” haunted my nightmares and daydreams, I sought WebMD and the always reliable Yahoo Answers to help me sort through my potential problems. In reality, they just created more things for me to worry about.

However, after days of applesauce, milkshakes, and swollen cheeks, I finally started to feel better. Currently, I am continuing my saltwater rinses, but the pain has subsided. I think I’m going to make it through.

All that time spent resting actually made me feel reenergized for spring quarter. My first class of the quarter went extremely well. With only 11 people in my writing class, the class will give us a chance to really hone in on our writing skills. I hope my next three classes go just as swimmingly.

This quarter is sure to be a busy one. Between school, my internship, nannying, friends, and nursing the newfound holes in my mouth, I’m wondering how many hours of sleep I’ll average this spring. Plus, as the weather starts to get warmer, it will undoubtedly become harder and harder to focus on school. But, like every other quarter, I’m always up for a challenge.

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Winter Quarter Wrap-Up

​​​As finals week comes to a close, I really wonder where the time went this quarter. With the swiftness with which wet cement sets, the quarter was over seemingly before it began.

Fresh off of New Year’s resolutions that included going to the gym and creating more time for myself, the Zoe I was ten weeks ago could have never predicted what lay ahead for me during the past three months.

A career move, a 60 page thesis and a DePaul College of Communications advising snafu (that I am still trying to sort, fingers crossed) pretty accurately sum up my quarter. Did I accomplish my goals of getting in shape and reading more? Nope. Do I feel satisfied with my quarter regardless? Heck yes.

This is what doing a thesis looks like.

This quarter was the most sleep deprived quarter I have ever experienced. In the midst of morning cups of coffee and 7 a.m. commutes into the loop, I had the fortunate opportunity to do some serious soul searching. At least the soul searching that comes with loopy morning thoughts sandwiched amongst total strangers on the unpredictable journey to work also know as a typical ride on the Brown Line.

While I won’t delve into my philosophical reflections that stemmed from a lack of sleep combined with the ingenuity of someone who ate free birthday cake for lunch at work today, I will say that my quarter has been a quarter of rewards. I’ve managed to work a full five days a week, attend school at night, nanny on weekends and still maintain my sanity (or at least a majority of it). While I certainly had days where giving up sounded tempting, thanks to those around me, I never did.

Something I admire about going to school in Chicago are the opportunities that students are able to pursue. With the help of the DePaul Career Center ​and programs like ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge)​, finding an internship does not have to be a shot in the dark. I have made awesome connections through DePaul that have led me to take on full time internship positions while still in school.

Busy as ever, but thankful, I am definitely looking forward to spring break. What, may you ask, am I doing on my last-ever spring break? Getting all four of my wisdom teeth out! If that isn’t a banging way to end a crazy quarter, than I don’t know what is.  ​​​

Event Planning at DePaul

In high school, often students are forced into taking the same core classes over and over and over again. In college, life could not be more different. 

This quarter, I’m taking an event planning class, a film class, a social media strategy class, and am completing my senior thesis. Needless to say, my class schedule is far from boring or repetitive.

My event planning class has been one of my favorite classes at DePaul. My professor, Anne Davis, works for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and many of her lessons and homework assignments come straight from her actual job.

The insights you get from having a professor who actually works in the field that they teach about is something that is invaluable and very common at DePaul. Last quarter, I took a political communication class taught by someone who was working for U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth. I’ve also taken an honors art history course where my professor was a guest curator for an exhibit at the Art Institute.

Getting a firsthand perspective on real world, real time projects and events makes class so much more interesting. Anne has brought in some really impressive guest speakers, letting our class ask questions and learn the behind the scenes details of events like Taste of Chicago​, Chicago’s Draft Town​, and Chi-Town Rising​.

We’ve also learned how to negotiate sponsorship for events, plan event layouts, and create production schedules. Every homework assignment was created in the hopes that the assignments could be used as work samples on job interviews. I feel confident about the work and feedback I’ve received on my assignments from Anne, and would definitely consider bringing them with me to a relevant job interview.

One of the coolest classes Anne planned was a backstage tour of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra​. My class and I got to see the symphony’s dressing rooms, practice rooms, instruments, and we even got to sit in the seats behind the musicians  that face the audience.

Anne’s class has introduced me to the true nature of the event planning industry. I’m finding that I have a newfound interest in the industry and I hope that my future career will involve planning large scale events. Her class is definitely not easy, but the work that I am producing and the knowledge that I’m gaining makes every project and quiz worth it. ​​​

The 50th Annual NCHC Conference

I’ve conducted a surprising amount of research during my time at DePaul. While the task of writing a research paper is always intimidating, the rewarding feeling when the paper is done and handed in makes it all worth it.

Being in the DePaul Honors Program, most of my honors classes culminate in the writing of an original research paper. Since I’m currently taking my last honors requirement (my senior thesis) I estimate that I’ve written about nine substantial research papers consisting of ten or more pages through DePaul’s Honors Program this far.

My poster!

What’s great about DePaul’s Honors Program are the opportunities it offers to continue to develop research even after your class has ended. Sometimes it can be frustrating to spend 3875975 hours researching a topic only to get a grade back and never think about your paper again.

This past quarter I was fortunate enough to present my research from my Honors 201 course States, Markets, and Societies at the 2015 National Collegiate Honors Conference. The conference is an event held once a year by the National Collegiate Honors Council ​(NCHC) and invites honors students from across the nation to participate in weekend long activities. This year, the conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago.

The DePaul Honors advising staff suggested that I apply to present in the conference. When my research was accepted, DePaul covered my registration fee, I turned my research paper into a research poster, and the rest is history.

My project was titled “What’s Wrong with the 99 Percent?: The Failure of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the United States.” In my paper, I examined how the messaging, protest tactics, and outcomes of the Occupy Wall Street movement were different from that of the women’s suffrage movement and the Civil Rights Movement. I made sure to include visual elements in my poster to illustrate the differences present within the movements.

For the poster presentations, students set up their posters in a large room within the Sheraton. We then stood by our posters as other students and faculty perused topics and mingled amongst themselves. I had some very engaging and thought provoking conversations regarding my topic with people from all over the United States. It was also fun to hear about other students’ experience in the city so far. Many of the students I talked to had never been to Chicago and wanted to know what was worth checking out.

The NCHC conference was a definitely a neat experience — but I won’t lie, I’m a total nerd so I dig these types of things. Regardless, the conference proved that you don’t have to be a graduate student to start conducting your own research. With the right resources and guidance, undergraduates can have the ability and confidence to examine and analyze any topic. 



December Intercession

While my friends’ winter breaks were filled with ski lodge visits and European travels, mine was filled with class, my internship, and the challenge of trying to Christmas shop for others, rather than myself. Needless to say, relaxation and adventure do not exactly come to mind when describing my 6 weeks off – or I guess I should say on. 

Although my winter break wasn’t spent hiking through the Swiss Alps or visiting historic castles in London, it was fulfilling in its own way. I turned the big 2-1, finished four more class credits, and picked up some extra work hours.

Putting in some extra class time over the December intercession was a great decision this break. Normally, I spend the six weeks off bored out of my mind without a car stuck in the suburbs, so being able to work towards graduation kept me busy. I took a special topics journalism class with Dr. Jason Martin. Throughout the duration of the course, my class and I reported on the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also referred to as COP21​. We produced original content, graphics, maps, and social media accounts to help our reporting efforts.

This being my first December intersession class, I was a little apprehensive of how much work I would be asked to complete. The idea of intercession is to complete a regular 4 credit, ten week class over a shorter amount of time. In my case, I had three weeks to immerse myself in learning new skills and producing original content.

Our COP21 Tumblr blog.
Despite the quick three weeks, this course taught me a wealth of information.  Our class set out to provide real-timecoverage of an unfolding global event and to contextualize and localize environmental issues. We successfully completed our objectives and gained a voice in the flurry of live COP21 news coverage.

My role in our class reporting project was to aid in developing a social media strategy for the three week period. I learned how to read Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and was trained on a social media analytic program called Crimson Hexagon. Additionally, I learned how to utilize a conversation storytelling tool called Storify. At the end of the class, I contributed to a final social media engagement report, in which we tracked and explained our reporting growth.

The fast-paced nature of the class could be stressful at times, but covering such an interesting topic and producing content that our audience was engaged with was definitely rewarding. With a newfound interest in global climate change, it will be interesting to see how the promises made at COP21 hold up in the years to come.

If you’ve never taken a December intersession class before, I would highly recommend looking into it. I wish I had taken advantage of this option my first two years at DePaul. Additionally, I’d recommend taking any of Dr. Martin’s classes. He is an excellent professor and I’ve had him twice at DePaul thus far.

I guess while my winter break wasn’t spent traveling, it was well-spent at home in the company of classmates and co-workers. Maybe spring break will bring me some much needed relaxation time (unlikely, but a girl can dream.)


The Return: Back at It Again

The thought of beginning my eighth quarter at DePaul University fills me with nostalgia, a dash of anxiety, and a whole lot of excitement. With three quarters until I graduate, senioritis looms large on the horizon, but just far enough away to be ignored. So while I wait for the inevitable, I might as well suit up and give another quarter everything I’ve got.

This quarter, my class load is a tad bit unusual. It’s like having eggs benedict for dinner, or eating ice cream in the winter -- while it is refreshingly different, it is different nonetheless. Excuse my food references, as one of my new year’s resolutions is to become a master chef by the end of 2016. I’ll keep you updated on my progress, which I’m assuming will be noticed through a surplus of extravagant and delicious food metaphors sprinkled across my blogs.

I’ve decided to take two night classes, a half-credit Friday morning class at 9:00 a.m., and to complete my senior thesis. This, combined with interning three full days a week, nannying on weekends, and dedicating myself to the culinary arts, is sure to keep me busy and on the verge of insanity, which is perhaps my favorite state of being.

In the next ten weeks, I hope to accomplish a few tasks that will help me to set up the future (fingers crossed) success of the rest of my 2016. I’ll share them with you for accountability and potential inspiration:

  • Complete my senior thesis. While a 50 page research paper seems daunting, I’ve got two professors by my side, an amazing library, two years of research experience, and 70 days...how hard can it be?

  • Apartment hunting 2.0. As my lease expires this August, it’s never too early to start the apartment hunt. While I love the Lakeview area, I’m open to moving somewhere else for more space and a better price. Is this possible? I’ll let you know.

  • Obtain a summer internship. Coveted summer internships go on the market now. Look in Spring and you might just be too late. I suggest you visit our career center for guidance, resume help, and free pens. I know I will!

  • Reconnect with friends. Sometimes it can be hard to balance it all, and this quarter, I won’t let my busy schedule get the best of me. Resigning from the DePaulia has given me my Fridays back, and it is about time that I use Fridays to re-energize and reconnect with the people who matter most.

  • Write and read more. I used to be an avid reader and writer, but now I have reserved my two former obsessions for school and work. But no longer! It’s time to take reading and writing back!

So here are my hopes and dreams for the next ten weeks. I hope the new year brings you good fortune!


MAP Grants

It is no secret that the cost of higher education is absurd. Luckily, there are many scholarship programs and grants at DePaul that can help students cover the costs. Education is truly an investment and it’s promising to see that our university is dedicated to helping students attend DePaul.

Outside of DePaul, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grants to Illinois students that demonstrate financial need. These grants do not need to be repaid and many DePaul students rely on them to attend our university.


DePaul Computer Screens

Unfortunately, the state of Illinois has not passed an annual budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, meaning that MAP grants are up in the air. 


While this situation is scary for many students who rely on the MAP grant, we as students can have our voices heard. Student Government Association and our school’s president Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider have been encouraging students to contact our state representatives and governor’s office to urge them to fund MAP now. 


If you believe in giving students financial help to attend college, I also encourage you to call.

​• Governor Bruce Rauner’s office may be reached by calling: (312) 814-2121 or (217) 782-0244. You may also leave a comment on his website here​.

• Using your zip code, you may find your state representative and his or her office phone number h​ere​.

I have already made some calls and plan to continue to do so. Every call counts and it’s important to have your voice heard. 


Spread the word and make a difference! 


A 20-Year-Old Senior Citizen

This year, I’m in limbo.

While it might appear that I’ve got all my ducks in a row – perhaps due to the new back to school watch on my left wrist, signaling that I always know the time – this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth.

To break it down for you, my watch is a “fashion watch.” Don’t fret if you don’t know the terminology because I just made it up to justify the fact that my watch, an object generally used for a utilitarian purpose, doesn’t tell time correctly. I learned this the hard way as I ran to class realizing that being early in fashion watch time meant being late in the time zone known as reality. Discount shopping is always hit or miss. 

Beyond my inability to tell time despite my new (fashion) watch, I have found myself already stumped by two questions presented to me in my classes. No, I wasn’t being asked the quadratic formula or in what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Nor was I asked who wrote “The Great Transformation” or what the scientific method is. The two daunting questions were as follows:

 1.)   What year in school are you?
 2.)   What do you want to do once you graduate? 

Clearly off to a great start in my classes, I “errr”ed and “umm”ed my way through my responses with the grace only a 20 year old millennial with a fashion watch that falsifies time can exhibit.

I acquiesce when professors make you introduce yourself to the class. It’s awkward as everyone digs around in the back of their minds for something remotely interesting about themselves. When put on the spot like that, I usually lie. Not on purpose, of course. But before I know it, my nonexistent skydiving experience leaves my mouth like hot lava spewing out of a volcano; unstoppable, unforgivable and dangerous.

As college credit from high school has saved me money, which I am very thankful for, I question if I am appreciative of the time it’s saving me. I’m a third year student at DePaul, but am set to graduate after next fall quarter (or possibly sooner). An odd time to enter the workforce and an odd situation to explain to a classroom full of people whom I’ve just met; hence, my confusion at the question, “What year in school are you?” As I debated being a junior or senior out loud to all of my peers and professor, I realized that I so don’t have it all together.

And then comes the second question, aka THE question that parents, coworkers, aunts, uncles and everyone else under the sun loves to ask young college students. I envy the people who explain detail for detail what they will do with the rest of their lives with a sense of precision and confidence that is reserved for talk show hosts like Oprah and Katie Couric.

Unfortunately, for me, my class was full of Oprahs and included a sprinkling of Courics. As my classmates described their aspirations to become lawyers and campaign organizers, policy makers and non-profit leaders, my fashion watch and I didn’t stand a chance. So we searched around for something exciting that might have been a stretch of the truth.

Instead, under the immense pressure of the question and the embarrassment of the preceding one, we said, “I’m just taking it day by day really. Trying to survive.” As I described my future as if I had a terminal illness, my professor gave me a half smile, pitying me and saying, “It’s okay. You’ll figure it out.” It was clear that school was back in session.

So here I am, buckling up for the long journey ahead and knowing that each step forward, or backward, at least means I’m moving.

Excited for the year ahead yet? I know I am. Just don’t ask me my year in school or what my future career is. Especially, don’t ask me the time.


Come One, Come All: The Honors Ball 2015

Springtime at DePaul alludes itself to many picturesque images of flowers, chirping birds, and kids running around at the surprising multitude of public parks tucked in between neighborhoods scattered throughout
the city. And, of course there is the not-so-picturesque sense of spring fever that makes it more challenging than usual to hit the books.

But for me, springtime also means the Honors Ball.

The Honors Ball is a formal event that Honors Student Government hosts every year during spring quarter. While our social committee heads up the planning of the events, all board members help with its execution.

Every year the dance is held in the charming location of Cortelyou Commons​. This special space was originally built in 1929 and remodeled in 2006. Some people on campus equate it to a medieval castle, and I would have to agree. With two upper side balconies, chandeliers, and our former university presidents on the walls (which can get creepy at times because they all are just kind of staring at you), this “party” space is definitely unique and memorable.

Events are constantly happening in Cortelyou Commons. However, I feel like the springtime contains the most notable events to occur in the space: the College Democrats of Illinois Convention, the amateur drag show, various weddings and receptions — is it just me, or is springtime party time at DePaul?​

I’m looking forward to revisiting Cortelyou Commons in the future, and of course, I’m planning on going to some neighborhood parks this quarter because who doesn’t love a good ride down the slide?​


Spring Quarter 2015 Has Finally Sprung

One week into the quarter and we’ve already experienced everything from sunshine and 60 degree weather to rainy, cold madness. Chicago has never been known for its consistent weather…

But I do see some buds on plants and trees and couldn’t be more excited for spring.

One week into the quarter and I can tell that I won’t have any trouble keeping busy. I’ve already had reading and writing assignments in every class, and I did shed a tear when I realized the total dollar amount of my textbooks. That’s never a good sign. But regardless of the future stresses that this quarter will inevitably hold, the weather taking a turn for the best will surely nurse my worries away.


Last weekend before classes started, I took a trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory ​to see some tropical palms and ancient ferns. I forgot how relaxing and inviting this space can be. If you’re ever cold in the winter, or at all for that matter, make sure to make a stop to the LP Conservatory. It’s about 1000 degrees in there.


The LP Conservatory must mimic the environment of which their plants are originally from. This means heat, damp soil, and lots of light, which is one of my ideal environments. I must have been a fern in another life. 


Something I like to do at the LP Conservatory besides admire the beautiful foliage is to stare at the fish and turtles in the various ponds. Koi fish fill one of the ponds, and if you’ve never seen a koi fish before they are bigger than you would expect. They can grow to be 2-3 feet long and weigh up to 35 pounds. That’s probably bigger than your average Chihuahua​​. When they are well cared for, their life expectancy can be about 50-70 years long. Basically, koi fish are filled with lots of wisdom so you if you have any problems in life, I suggest talking to one of them. They’re great listeners.​


I would highly recommend a visit to the LP Conservatory if you ever feel like going on a fun, free, fast topical vacation to a faraway land that is actually located right in the heart of Lincoln Park. 


On another note, I hope to have many interesting things and events to share with you all this quarter. 


My life is getting more and more hectic, and subsequently tragic and/or laughable, so get ready to rumble this quarter for the journey of a lifetime...well maybe not a lifetime, but anything else just didn’t sound as exciting. 


The 3rd Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel

After a month of incessant e-mailing, scheduling on scheduling, and a mini social media campaign, the Third Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel was a go. 

The planning of this event had literally consumed my life for a good month, however, the success of the event was totally rewarding. 

​With the help of my fellow Academic Committee Co-Chair, the Honors Program staff, and the Alumni Office, I was able to put together a nice gathering of Honors students, former Honors students, meatballs, and cheesecake bites. Yes, of course there was free food. We scheduled DePaul catering which meant bruschetta, coffee, and lemon ice water. If that wasn't reason enough to come to the event, then I don’t know what was.


We had a diverse panel of four alumni come to share their knowledge of the job market and their respective industries with Honors students. This event was extremely helpful in gaining some affirmation that recent DePaul grads are doing some pretty cool things. For example, one of our panelists was the founder of his own startup company, while another was adjunct faculty in DePaul’s CDM College. All of the panelists brought great insight and were able to shed light on how the Honors program helped them prepare for their current jobs. 

They all recommended seeking out internships early on during your college career. This is important for gaining experience, and even if you hate your internship, it gives you information about what you don’t want to do. In the world of endless opportunities, every chance you can get to narrow your possibilities is helpful.


DePaul makes our alumni network super accessible to reach out to for advice. Through our College and Career Center’s ASK program (short for Alumni Sharing Knowledge), it’s possible to find a mentor to help guide you through your potential job field. They also can you help to prepare you for job interviews and look over your resume. The ASK program is a great networking source because you automatically have something in common: Once a Blue Demon, always a Blue Demon. 


Our event took place directly after our general body meeting for Honors Student Government and went as follows:

  1. 4:30-5:00 Set up and greet alumni
  2. 5:00-5:15 Head shots
  3. 5:15-6:15 Alumni Panel
  4. 6:15-6:30 Raffle and closing announcements

Overall, all the hard work paid off! The event went very smoothly, the alumni and students had fun, and there were those cheesecake bites...I had so many I lost track. It’s nice to know the DePaul community doesn’t end when you graduate. Through ASK and Alumni Panels, the fun is just beginning. 


Course Registration Week: Yoga Breathing Necessary

This week was class registration week at DePaul. This means that students all over campus anxiously checked watches and phones for the clock to turn to their designated time and then proceeded to click the classes they wanted as fast as humanly possible, trying to get their perfect schedule. 

A stressful week for many, class registration always occurs around midterms. Yoga breathing and hot tea are definitely necessities during this part of the quarter.


Thus far in my college career I have been extremely lucky in my class registration. I haven’t had to be put on any wait lists or re-do my schedule, which is a huge relief. While this is due in part to being in the Honors Program (we register a few days before the rest of the university), it is also due to being highly prepared for registration day. Here are some expert tips from someone who knows how to get your dream schedule:


As soon as the course cart opens, be sure to start dreaming up potential schedules. Don’t wait till the day before registration to do so, especially if you work. It’s important to have time to work out scheduling conflicts.


Make multiple schedules. If you find out you’re put on the wait list for a class or a class is too full, then it’s important to have other options to register for. DO NOT BANK ON THE WAIT LIST. It’s a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. 


Talk to you advisor. It’s important to make sure that you’re fulfilling all your major requirements, your core requirements, and that your GPA is up to par with your college and scholarships. No one likes to find out that they’re behind in their schedule because they took a class they didn’t need.


On class registration day, WAKE UP! I know plenty of people who have slept through their class registration on accident. My registration time this quarter was 9 a.m. so I set multiple alarms to make sure I registered as soon as 8:59 turned to 9:00.


Make sure to find out which campus your class is on. While room numbers and buildings aren’t available at this time, information regarding which campus the class will take place is. This is imperative to know so you allow yourself time to commute from the Loop to Lincoln Park ​and vice versa. Making a mistake of which campus a class is at can be pretty devastating to your perfect schedule. 


Following my tips can help you get the professors and class times of your dreams. The key to success is being prepared in the game of class registration. If you don’t get your perfect schedule, it’s important to stay calm. Factors outside of your personal control (a class was moved to a different quarter, the professor can no longer teach it, etc) can contribute to extra difficulties in registering for classes. Just remember that as you gain more credits, your registration time becomes earlier and earlier. 


And remember yoga breathing and hot tea. Especially, the yoga breathing. 


DePaul Housing: Residence Halls vs. Apartment Life

For most likely the first time in your life, it’s time to decide where you personally want to live. Daunting? Yes. Exciting? Of course. Expensive? Sadly, yes.

I had no idea where I wanted to room my freshman year at DePaul. It’s hard to know what the dorms actually look like from raw floor plans and some dimensions. Based on a recommendation from my advisor, I ended up living on the Honors Floor in Seton Hall. Living on the Honors Floor was one of the best decisions I made my freshman year. If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program​ and are considering rooming on the floor, I would highly recommend it.

As an honors student, your classes are capped at around 20 students. You will most likely get to know your classmates very well throughout your 10 weeks in class. Because of this, it is really nice to be just around the corner from classmates for homework advice. It’s easy to collaborate on projects and be in the loop about Honors Program events.

If you’re not in the Honors Program, I would still recommend Seton Hall. Seton has the biggest rooms and the biggest closets. Last year, I didn’t have to worry about what shoes to bring or what clothes to pack; I had the luxury of being able to bring my entire closet. 


My walk in closet at Seton Hall was so large, that I would often use the space to talk on the phone. It was a dream come true. I hope that someday in my life when I’m a working professional I will have a closet like I did my freshman year of college. I never thought I’d type that sentence when I was in high school.


Additionally, having high ceilings really opens up the rooms in Seton as well. I could stand up on my lofted bed and still not be able to reach the ceiling to give you an idea of how tall my room was.


If this is your second year at DePaul, I would highly recommend that you go on the apartment search. It can save you a few thousand dollars by not living in the dorms. Grab a few close friends you can see yourself living with, and hit up websites such as Craigslist, Padmapper, and Domu. It’s important to be wary of false advertisements and always make sure to see the space in person before signing any documents or giving money. I found my current apartment via Craigslist. While this may seem super sketchy, if you’re safe and smart, there are definitely some good spaces on Craigslist.

My number one tip for apartment hunters is to respond quickly and act fast. Apartments go really fast in the city, especially around this time of year. Being on top of new postings and listings will only work to your advantage.

Living on your own in an apartment with your name on the lease teaches you a lot about living in the real world. While apartment life has been no means been a perfect experience (i.e. water heater/fireplace leaks, broken washing machines, pipes freezing, and loud neighbors), it’s been completely rewarding. 

Good luck as you search for a place to squat for the next year of your life. Remember it’s not about where you are, but what you make of it!


Looking for a challenge at DePaul? Apply to the Honors Program

​When applying to DePaul, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the Honors Program. I was used to the extra rigor of honors classes from a high school career dictated by AP tests, so the transition from high school classes to college level honors classes was pretty smooth. If you are considering applying to DePaul, I highly suggest looking into the Honors Program. If you are ready for the challenge of more difficult classes, this is definitely the route for you.​


Honors Student Government Meeting​​

Being in the Honors Program at DePaul was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my college career. Our class sizes are capped at 20 students, we register before other students, we have quarterly student-faculty dinners, and we have our own student government. I like the sense of community that the Honors Program has to offer. At a school with around 20,000 undergrads, being in the Honors Program creates some recognizable faces while walking around campus. 


The Academic Committee Chairs






This year, I am serving as the Academic Committee Co-Chair on the Honors Student Government executive board. My job is to help maintain the relationship between Honors Program faculty/staff and our club members. My fellow co-chair and I are currently working on planning for our annual Alumni Panel, so stay tuned for a post about this in February. ​


Honors Student Government provides honors students with many opportunities to become involved through and with the Honors Program. We have a Service Committee, Social Committee, Academic Committee, Newsletter Committee, an Ambassador Committee, a treasurer, vice president, and a president. Freshman can become involved too by either joining the general body, or running for a position called the honors floor representative, if they live on the Honors Floor (3rd floor of Seton). 

​​Some events that we have recently had has been ice skating, an internship tip information session, a scholarship information session, ambassador lunches, study sessions before finals, and the Service Committee is currently hosting a canned food drive. Each year we have a spring quarter dance which is always fun as well. It’s easy to become involved in any aspect of Honors Student Government and meet new people. I’ve posted a few of our event posters throughout the blog, but you can always check to see what we’re up to and what we’ve been doing at: https://dphsg​.wordpress.com/​​


While I will say that the honors curriculum can at times be very challenging (flashback to last quarter when I wrote a 25 page research paper double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and I almost broke my brain), I think that my college experience has been really enriching because of it. 




We do have a lot more reading and lengthy writing assignments for our core classes, but the academic community that I am a part of makes it all worth it. I have formed many close relations with many of my honors professors and classmates, which has played a huge part in the positivity of my college experience thus far.


For those starting to make those tough college decisions, good luck! Wherever you end up, college is truly what you make it. 




Student Debt Reform Super PAC

Two weeks of the quarter down already! Of course, I’m already as busy as ever. So typical.

This quarter, I am working on a really exciting project with some students at DePaul that I am extremely pumped about. 

My friend, Colin Mackintosh, is the founder and president of his own Super PAC, which is quite amazing. I feel very lucky to be a member of this political organization.

The Super PAC is called the Student Debt Reform PAC and works to fight for the right of current and former students to have the ability to refinance their federal student loans. This issue is such an important one for anyone pursuing a higher education. Trying to tackle the issue with my fellow students is a really refreshing project. To give you a quick snapshot of the current tuition situation in America, take a look at these facts I found while doing a quick Google search:

  • Student loans have passed credit cards and auto loans to become the second biggest source of personal debt in the U.S., trailing only mortgages
  • Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, a number that has tripled in the last decade
  • The average Class of 2014 graduate with student loan debt has to pay back some $33,000. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago
  • Only 41 percent of students graduate in four years. 
Quite honestly, these statistics are quite unsettling. People shouldn’t be punished for wanting to pursue a higher education and make a better future for themselves. With the creation of a Super PAC focused on spreading awareness about student debt reform, it should be comforting that there is an effort in the political realm trying to make a difference. 

One of the PAC’s goals is to stay as bipartisan as possible by focusing more on alerting and education people on the importance of the issue of student debt, rather than focusing on promoting individual candidates. I think that student debt reform is truly a bipartisan issue. Unfortunately, everyone can relate to the astronomical amount of debt that our country’s undergraduate and graduate students face.​

Check out the Student Debt Reform Super PAC’s website at www.studentdebtreform.com


On the website, individuals can donate to the PAC using credit or debit cards, PayPal, or by sending a check that includes the required information listed on the website. Individuals can even donate using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin. Pretty tech savvy, I must say.


Also on the website, people can buy debt reform stickers and use them to spread the word! All of the proceeds go to the Student Debt Reform PAC.


 

It’s cool to apply many of the concepts I have been learning in my classes to a real world project. Being a political science and public relations and advertising double major, I have found my education thus far to be extremely useful.


Whether you’re looking at colleges now, are a current college student, or are still paying off student loans, I hope that you consider student debt reform to be a possibility. Spread the word about the Student Debt Reform PAC!



Mid-term Week and the Advantages of the Quarter System

​I can’t believe it’s that time already?! Mid-terms… oh joy. Despite the stress building up and the lack of sleep, I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoy the quarter system. DePaul has three quarters for the academic year: Fall, Winter, and Spring. While taking three classes classifies you as a full time student, most students take four. 

The biggest downfall of the quarter system is that it does feel like you’re always testing at times. While the semester school experience has two sets of mid-terms and two sets of finals, those on the quarter system experience three sets of mid-terms and three sets of finals. Although at first glance this may seem very unfortunate, keep in mind that our finals and mid-terms cover a reasonable amount of material. Rather than cramming for a final that includes fifteen weeks of material, with the quarter system your final only covers 10 weeks. That five week difference is HUGE. 

 
I think that the quarter system really allows you to focus on your subject at hand. Although you don’t stay with the same classes for half the year, it forces you to be fully immersed in the topic for a mere ten weeks. Think of it this way: ten weeks with four classes or fifteen weeks with five? With that math, I’d chose the quarter system any day!

Just to give you some background on what mid-terms are looking like for me (a double major- Political Science and PR and Advertising), I’ll give a quick synopsis of my fun week: 

Creative Writing (English 201): For my fine arts elective I chose to take creative writing. I felt that if I were to take painting, sculpting, or acting, I would probably fail out… Needless to say, I’m really enjoying creative writing right now. It’s a nice creative break in my schedule. I am thanking my lucky stars that we do not have a mid-term in class! Although, I am working on a 500 word story that’s due Thursday…

States, Markets and Societies (Honors 201): Being an Honors Program student, all of my general education requirements are honors classes. While I enjoy the challenge, it certainly is a bit more rigorous than my other classes. While we don’t have a formal mid-term, I do have an annotated bibliography due this Wednesday for my research topic. This is eventually going to help me write my 15-20 page paper on capitalism and democracy (wish me luck!)

Introduction to Communication (Communication 101): I had my mid-term paper due on Monday (I wrote it on normative relationships in the NBC show The Office) and I have my multiple choice exam on Wednesday! Pretty straight forward! Lots of vocab terms and memorization. 

World Ethics in Politics (Political Science 347): This quarter I decided to take an advanced political science course. Man, is it hard and also depressing at times (we’re watching Hotel Rwanda…), but it’s very interesting and thought provoking! We have our mid-term paper due on Thursday. Kind of nervous for this one! 

So there you have it! That’s mid-terms in a nutshell! Of course it varies depending on your schedule, but for me, papers are pretty typical. If you’re experiencing mid-terms I wish you the best of luck!



Preparing for DePaul!

As you soak in the rays and enjoy your last summer before the beginning of your new life, your parents may or may not start to nag you about finding out what books you need. Or perhaps who your roommate is. And also the date you should move in. And if you need to increase your meal plan. And if you should get the towel hook with three hooks or four. And how many picture frames should you buy. And do you want to bring that chair in the basement that no one uses…you get the point.

While the summer before college can be very fun and somewhat nostalgic, there are some things to plan out before coming to DePaul in the fall!

Roommate decisions are mailed out with plenty of time to contact your roommate and make the necessary living arrangements. Pretty standard questions to ask are questions like:

  1.     What appliances should we bring? (I.e. fridge, microwave, etc.)
  2.     Shall we have a futon or chairs to accommodate our guests
  3.     T.V.?
  4.     The carpets are very bland so do we want a rug?
  5.     Should we color coordinate or just let fate decide?

Don’t worry about setting room rules with your future roomie or anything like that. RAs take care of all that fun stuff the week you move in. Getting to know your roommate through casual conversation before you move in can also be helpful in making your first encounter a little less awkward. My roommate and I met before we moved in and planned everything out so moving in was a cinch! I’m going to miss her this summer!

As for getting books and scheduling your classes, tell your parents that this cannot be done until orientation. At orientation this summer, you will play thousands of ice breakers. Regardless of the activity at orientation, you will more importantly register for classes. The earlier your summer orientation the better; classes fill up on a first come, first serve basis. If your orientation is later in the summer, don’t panic however! You have so many options your first quarter at DePaul that there isn’t even a chance that you won’t get some classes that you want.

When school is a few weeks in the distant future, normally professors will e-mail you a syllabus or a quick introduction to the class and themselves. On the syllabus the necessary books will be listed. I like to buy my books before class starts just so I don’t have to worry about the bookstore running out or shipping nightmares, but that’s just kind of a personal preference type thing. Make sure that your campus connect e-mail is up to date in order to receive this very important information!!!

Overall, just enjoy your summer! Odds are your parents are worried more than you are. Or, if they are like my parents, they will not acknowledge the fact that you are moving out because of the denial they feel. Regardless, just realize that everything will work out in the end! Be patient and figure everything out as it comes up!


The FIRST Annual Honors Student Conference

So many decisions to make when you come to DePaul! As my freshman year comes to an end, I can honestly say that joining the Honors Program at DePaul was one of the best decisions I made this year. The Honors Program provides so many opportunities to get involved at DePaul and the advisors of the program are absolutely fabulous! Nancy and Jennifer make sorting out which classes to take a cinch!

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever Honors Program Student Conference: Spotlight on Research and Creativity. This conference featured undergrad projects including senior thesis presentations, non-thesis posters, and student paper presentations. I fell into the middle category as I made a poster based off a paper I had done for a class I took fall quarter.

My project was titled Your New Miss America is: The Politics of Beauty and Empowerment. While I won't bore you with the details of my project, I gained some valuable experience about presenting research to an audience as I explained my research questions and final argument to countless professors, other students, and the Honors Program Advisors.

I highly suggest to everyone next year to attend DePaul's Honors Student Conference. It was cool to see what other students were up to academically within the past year.

Regardless if you are participating in the Honors Program here at DePaul or not, there are many departmental conferences where students can apply to present their research on various topics. After putting so much work into a project, a lot of students feel passionate about their topic, and it's nice to have many outlets to share your hard work, rather than just turning in papers and forgetting about them.

By the time you graduate, you will definitely have gained some valuable academic experience; as a first year student I have already presented research in a conference. Get excited future Blue Demons!