Articles by Zoe Krey

The Most Underrated Buses in Chicago

​As if the L wasn’t intimidating, the 130 CTA bus routes are confusing enough to get you severely lost anywhere in Chicago you can imagine. Sound enticing?

Well, it should. Once you begin to master the CTA buses, your navigational prayers will be answered. I implore you to outsmart your friends this winter, and learn the bus system. Don’t trudge those extra 5 blocks through snow, sleet, and sadness to your destination; find a bus that will take you directly there.

According to the CTA’s website, the CTA has about 1,888 buses that operate 130 routes and 1,301 route miles. If that’s not dizzying enough, the buses make 18,843 trips a day and serve 10,813 bus stops. What does this mean for you? With the right planning, you can find the bus of your destination dreams.

Perhaps, my appreciation for the buses stems from the fact that I now live off three great bus routes. The #77 Belmont, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, and #151 Sheridan are my go-to routes.

However, my bus-queen status does not mean that the buses and I don’t have our differences. While I’m lucky that the buses I need come pretty regularly during the morning and day-time hours (night is a completely different story), some buses, such as #65 Grand, pretty much come every 20-25 minutes, which can make being on time difficult.

147 Bus
The buses are not a possibility for you unless you’ve downloaded a bus-tracking app. Transit Stop works particularly well and also is useful for L arrival times. You’ll need it to plan your journeys and figure out when to go outside to the bus stop at the last possible minute.

Unless you have a day to explore the bus lines and learn by trial and error, I recommend you look up bus routes online before you hop on willy-nilly. Once, when I was commuting home after work this past summer, the bus I needed (#146) was a ways away, so I decided to hop on #147. What difference could a number make?

Nope. I was very wrong. As I sat on #147 Outer Drive Express, I pressed my face and hands to the glass window as I watched my apartment, a.k.a. my destination, whiz by, eventually fading out of sight. Learn from my mistake.

Good luck with your bus adventures! And, may the bus odds be ever in your favor this winter.

25th Reunion Dinner

The Willis Tower
One of my favorite experiences I’ve had at DePaul is being a member of the Student Alumni Ambassador program. Every quarter, we don our finest business-casual wear, attend fancy alumni events, and get our mingle on! 

The Student Alumni Ambassadors were founded to strengthen the bonds and connections between alumni and the university, enlighten alumni on the current university culture, engage current students in the alumni community, and develop future alumni leaders. It’s a great way to network with DePaul alumni, but it’s also fun to learn about their experiences at DePaul. 

This past weekend was alumni weekend, and I attended the 25th Reunion Dinner, as an SAA, in the Willis Tower’s Metropolitan Club. It’s no surprise that the views were spectacular and the food was amazing. 

Tasked with saying a few words to kick off the event, I spoke about how grateful I am for my experiences at DePaul. I truly believe that DePaul’s ability to incorporate Chicago and its resources into the classroom is unparalleled. 

Salmon
On the menu for the night were passed hors d’oeuvers including quatro formaggi arranchini, three-hour short rib on a crostini finished with a blue cheese crown, and jumbo shrimp with horseradish spiked cocktail sauce. Beyond that delicious spread came the main courses, which included salad, pan-seared salmon with a smoked paprika crust, and crème brulee with fresh berries and a traditional caramelized candied crust. 

Did I mention being an SAA was pretty awesome? 

It was great to connect with former DePaul students from the graduating class of 1991 over a delicious meal 66 floors above the ground. Their passion for their alma mater has not faltered, making me excited about my future as a DePaul alumni. 

Crème Brulee
If you have the chance to become an SAA during your time at DePaul, I could not recommend it enough! Plus, you get to work with the amazing John Palmares, the associate director of the Office of Alumni Relations​ (also a DePaul grad).

160,000 members strong, the University Alumni Association is something I look forward to joining in 2017. 


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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Chicago Rock Spot

In the words of the profoundly philosophical and reflective Nicki Minaj, “Let’s go to the beach, each, let’s go get a wave.”

Nicki couldn’t have summed up the goal of my summer any better. If you can’t find me and it’s blazing outside, I’ll be laying out by Belmont Harbor. A quick, Bus 77 ride away from my apartment, the walkway along Belmont Harbor doesn’t get as crowded as Fullerton Beach​ or North Avenue Beach.

While this part of the lakefront doesn’t have any sand, if you don’t mind laying on a towel on concrete, it’s the perfect spot. There are even a lot of rocks along the lake, making some nice, natural, sit-in-the-water seats. My friends and I have titled this place, the Rock Spot.

The Rock Spot is an ideal location to soak up the summer sun and skip all the hot sand. I’ve never been a fan of coming home from the lake and having to dump out the sand in my bag. My inner neat freak is not okay with the residual graininess and stickiness that undoubtedly comes from a day at the beach.

Dipping my pinky toe into the water this Monday morning, I thought I had mentally prepared myself for how cold the lake would be, but I definitely didn’t prepare enough. According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, the temperature of Lake Michigan at the Chicago shore is currently 58 degrees. It was a glacial temperature to say the least.

I’m still waiting for the water to warm up, but until then, I’ll be lounging by the Rock Spot. Hope to see you there!


Go Cubs Go!

After living five blocks from Wrigley Field​ for the past two years, I finally got a chance to experience this iconic ballpark.

Last week, I was blessed with a cancelled class on Thursday night. As if that wasn’t lucky enough, my friend had an extra ticket to the Cubs game. Fate wanted me to go to that game and enjoy a Cubs win over the Washington Nationals!

Around 7:00  p.m. we walked the four blocks from my apartment to Wrigley. I embarrassingly did not have any Cubs apparel to wear to the game. I once owned a W shirt, but lost it in the wild, wild west, also known as my closet. I wore a dark blue coat instead, trying to blend in with the Cubs crowd. It worked!

I was ultimately surprised at the size of the ballpark. The only ballpark I had been to previously was U.S. Cellular, which seems so much bigger than Wrigley. But perhaps, my memories of U.S. Cellular deceive me as the last game I went to was in middle school I believe.

The Cubs and Sox rivalry is one I am very familiar with. My parents are die-hard Sox fans and have raised me to follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately, my move to Wrigleyville has changed my loyalty, as I found myself sitting in Wrigley Field shouting “Go Cubs go,” on Thursday.

I’ve told my family that my switch from rooting for the Sox to the Cubs is a matter of safety; imagine if I was walking down Addison after a Cubs game let out and I had on Sox shirt. I’m sure that an excited Cubs fan might punch me in the face. It’s easier if I assimilate into my neighborhood and cheer for the Cubbies.

But, ask me to cheer for the Green Bay Packers? Never would I ever.


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.



Let's Go Hawks!

Through a twist of fate and luck, my dad and I scored tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks game against the St. Louis Blues. We had great seats on the first row of the third floor, right behind the goal.

Getting lost on our way to the United Center, it was overwhelming when we first arrived into the stadium. The sheer number of people in red jerseys (myself and my dad included) confused us and comforted us at the same time.

I had never been to Hawks game before, but now that I’ve experienced the madness I can think of no other professional sport that is as exciting to watch live. The crowd is rowdy as can be, and the swiftness with which the puck moves leaves no moment of the game unhurried.

The finals score of Game 6 was 6 to 3, with the Hawks advancing to Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. I scored a win myself as I got a free rally rag imprinted with the iconic words “One Goal” when I arrived at the stadium. (Everyone did, but still…)

Let’s go Hawks!


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.

America the Beautiful

​​​​​Is it really spring if you didn’t visit the annual Macy’s Flower Show?​ I don’t think so.

Or at least that’s what I told my roommate as I strung him along to look at flowers with me on the ninth floor of Macy’s on State Street.

Of course, the annual show did not disappoint. With the theme, “America the Beautiful,” this year’s flower show took on the task of trying to represent the flowers of America in a space the size of a large apartment.

Did it do our nation’s flowers justice? I have no idea. The flowers I recognized at the show were few and far between. However, Macy’s did identify all the flowers for patrons through signage placed in flower beds and attached to decorated walls. They even labeled grass in case you got confused by the green stringy things growing out of the soil. How nice.

The show celebrated not only flowers, but also recreated various iconic destinations out of flowers. The Washington Monument was replicated from a structure of white flowers, with cherry blossoms lining the pathway. The Statue of Liberty’s fire torch is that what you call it, I really have no idea was also replicated using a multitude of colorful flowers.

In case you are wondering, you are not allowed to purchase any flowers at the flower show. Macy’s lists that fact as the answer to a frequently asked flower show question ​online. Quite ironic considering you can buy anything else under the sun at Macy's.

Perusing the pathways of the flower show gave me the spring break I didn’t have this year. Plus, armed with my Zyrtec, Kleenex, and memories of the flower show, I am now officially ready for spring. Bring on the allergies.




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.

​​

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 Fashion Outlets of Chicago

In the wise words of Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother, “Let’s go to...the mall!”​

My obsession with dedication to shopping is no secret by now. Neither is my rule to never buy anything at full price.

The struggle is so real on Michigan Avenue as I look longingly at window displays full of glamorous items that cost the same as my tuition. Water Tower isn’t much help either. However, before you get too depressed, realize that the mall of your dreams is a quick hop, skip, and city away.

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont​ gives you access to designer brands for reasonable prices. As someone who is in constant need of internship clothing, the Fashion Outlets present a one-stop-shop for everything professional. By no means is everything affordable, but a surprising portion is for a poor college student.

My spirit animal Robin Sparkles.

Not to mention the Fashion Outlets has a Wetzel’s Pretzel​ in the food court. May I suggest you order the Dog Bites?

I admire the simplicity of the mall’s navigation. The layout makes it easy to visit every store systematically. The more expensive designer stores are on the top level, leaving the bottom level for more affordable stores.

Additionally, the mall offers a free shuttle directly from the Rosemont Blue Line to the Fashion Outlets. The shuttle comes about every 10-15 minutes, but if you’re in a rush, or find that it is too cold to wait 15 minutes at the shuttle stop, an Uber is about $6. If you’re really desperate to save your money for the mall, the mall is also possible to get to by foot from the blue line. If you’re fortunate to have your own set of wheels, the mall offers free parking in the parking garage as well.

Next time you’re in the mood to revamp your wardrobe, try shopping in Rosemont. The longer trip will be worth the wait! Happy shopping!


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.)


FALLing for DePaul

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” --Yogi Berra

As an indecisive person who has trouble simply getting dressed in the morning and choosing between waffles and cereal for breakfast, picking a college was the ultimate stressor. With thousands of choices in thousands of places, it’s insane that high school students are expected to choose their home and possible career path for the next four(ish) years of their lives.

Choosing DePaul for me has been one of the best life decisions I’ve made thus far, but I didn’t fall for DePaul during my first visit. Taking your typical college road trip, my family and I packed up our lives during Spring Break of my junior year and rode on down to the good ol’ South.

Yes, the South. Visiting North Carolina State, University of South Carolina, Clemson, and University of Georgia, I thought that destiny was calling my name where the weather was warm and I could always get a tan.
But I was so wrong.

I spent the summer researching schools and applying to colleges. If you’re at this point of life, best of luck to you. The process is more than daunting. With personal essays and ACT or SAT scores, the second-guessing can be overwhelming.

As the summer sun turned to shorter fall days, the admissions process progressed and I started to hear back from schools. I flipped coins and begged my advisors and teachers to tell me what school I should go to, keeping DePaul in the back of my mind and the Southern schools in the forefront.

I let my senior year progress without thinking about college until about April when the deadline to commit was fast approaching. At this point in my decision-making process, it came down to DePaul and University of South Carolina.

South Carolina was a beautiful campus. The tour I had went on a year ago was still very memorable, the traditions and school spirit at the college were very apparent, and the scholarships I had received topped DePaul by a significant amount.

DePaul was beautiful, but in a different way. The city landscape was unique to every other college I had seen and the lack of football team gave the campus an independent vibe. I liked how close to home I would be in Chicago and how accessible the city was.

I decided to give DePaul one last visit before I made up my mind. I met with one of the Honors Program​ Directors who gave me a personal, inside perspective on the university. She taught me about DePaul’s offerings, culture, and community, and suddenly, I was sold.

I knew in that instant DePaul was where I was meant to be.

The city will always be my home and I can’t imagine being on any other type of campus. I like the independence and the anonymity that Chicago provides.

If you’re stuck choosing a college, I encourage you to get in contact with a staff member at your prospective university. This eye opening experience allows you to ask questions to an expert in a private environment, rather than asking questions awkwardly to a student tour guide in front of other prospective students.

With student visit day coming up, maybe you’ll FALL for DePaul?


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.


Ethiopian Food for the Win

After eating, sleeping, and breathing tacos for a few months, I thought it was time to venture out into the world and find a new food group to indulge in. Since moving to Chicago, I’ve heard the buzz about Ethiopian food, but have always stuck to what I’ve known when it comes to food (hence the tacos on tacos diet that I have). But last weekend I was feeling extra adventurous— perhaps due to the warm weather or maybe due to the fact that I’m in denial that I’m still in school.

So off I went with my roommate to Loyola ​territory to seek out an Ethiopian restaurant called Ras Dashen​. The restaurant is named after the tallest mountain in Ethiopia​, which Zenash Beyene, the chef and owner, used to live by back in her Ethiopian days. Ras Dashen has won many titles and awards by Zagat and Check Please, and is recommended by the Michelin guide.

If you don’t know much about Ethiopian food, one thing to note is that it’s spicy. Like burn-your-mouth-should-I-go-to-the-ER spicy. But then again that’s coming from me who once cried while eating the mild wings at Buffalo Wild Wings​ and then begged my waiter for milk, water and ice cubes because I thought my tongue was going to fall off. For a better point of reference, my roommate who can eat the mild wings without a problem and frequently has spicy salsa verde as a midnight snack, said that the food was spicy but in a flavorful, delicious way and was certainly not enough to deter him from eating it.

If you’re a wimp like me though, don’t worry! Ras Dashen​ had spicy options and regular items so everyone can be accommodated. Another thing to note about Ethiopian foods is that there are no utensils. You eat with your hands. Not exactly an ideal first date type of situation I would say. By the time I finished dinner I had basically put my hands all over the food…sorry roomie.

As the Ras Dashen menu explains, “A traditional Ethiopian meal is served on a round of injera ​and shared by everyone at the table. Each entree comes with a roll of injera to be used as your eating utensil. Injera is a sour, spongy bread made with teff, the indigenous Ethiopian grain.” Eating became an activity in itself. Trying to scoop up the food in the bread was not easy. We spied on other tables with seasoned professionals to help us get the technique down.

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at Ras Dashen and will definitely be going back. Ethiopian food isn’t just delicious, but it’s fun. If you like spice order anything on the menu, but if you’re like me, ask the waiter for some more mild options.

What To Do This Summer

As midterms wind down, I can’t wait for the summer to finally be here. As this will be my first summer in Chicago, the possibilities seem quite endless for me during the next upcoming months.


This summer will also be my first summer working an “adult job.” Not to put the lifeguard profession down or anything — I have mad respect for anyone who is willing to save lives — but my new internship makes me feel as if I am going places in life. 


Starting in June, I will be a copywriter creative intern at Potbelly Sandwich Works.​ I am very excited to apply the skills I’ve learned at DePaul to an internship in which I will be dealing with real world issues. 


But on top of working a full time job, I’m in the process of compiling a bit of a “Summer To Do List” full of things I plan on learning this summer. Every summer I convince myself that I will dedicate the threeish months I have off to learning how to do new things or becoming an expert at something. And every summer I commit to about three or four… about one about half of a goal. 


However, this summer will be different! I can already feel it! 

Here’s my list and goals for summer 2015:

• WordPress. I’ve always wanted to start my own blog, and with websites like WordPress​, this is more than a possibility. Luckily, DePaul students have free, unlimited access to Lynda.com, a website that has an online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. I plan to fully utilize Lynda.com over the summer in my WordPress learning journey.

• Knitting. This is on my list every summer. Knitting ​just doesn’t sound as fun in the summer months as it does in the winter, but I need three months to practice, practice, practice so I won’t be knitting scarves with holes in them come January.

• LinkedIn etiquette. I recently have been on LinkedIn ​a lot more lately. Perhaps, my frantic search for a summer internship fueled my fire to update my profile. However, I plan to keep updating it and expanding my network. The verdict is mixed for me as to whether LinkedIn is necessary or not, however I plan to play around with this social networking site more this summer.

• Calligraphy. Maybe it’s my constant perusing on Pinterest, but I am totally convinced that calligraphy ​is one of the most beautiful forms of art. I would love to learn how to do this kind of lettering this summer.

• Cooking. I feel like learning how to cook more than pasta is necessary at this point ... this “learning” goal is more of a quality of life thing more than anything else. 

• Tan. This isn't really a learning goal. I just really need to work on my tan. Pale is so not my color. Don't forget to use sunscreen though : )

• Astronomy​. Mostly for when I get lost. But also because the movie Interstellar inspired me to become more knowledgeable about space, the stars, and the galaxy in preparation for when we must find a new planet.

What are you up to this summer? While I certainly am all about some high quality goal setting, sometimes just relaxing and enjoying life is the best thing to accomplish during break. 


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. 


3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to DePaul

In the midst of finals, it’s weird to think that this is my fifth quarter at DePaul. While studying at DePaul has certainly taught me a lot, there are still some things I wish I had known my freshman year.

1.) The DePaul Meal Plan: I really wish I had known more about the meal plan​ before starting at DePaul. While all freshman pretty much get this plan, it’s important that you budget your quarterly funds accordingly. While I ended up having a surplus of funds at the end of the year (funds don’t carry on from year to year,) some of my friends ended up having a shortage. I enjoyed my surplus of funds as I got to bulk buy some Starbucks Frappuccino bottles at the end of the quarter. I think I ended up getting slightly addicted because I drank one bottle every day for about a month...It was hard to cope when I ran out of them. DePaul’s meal plan is unique compared to other schools because there is no point system or buffet style option. Everything is accorded its own dollar value. This means that if you want to buy a sub and cup of soup and it says this will cost $6.80, then it actually costs $6.80.

My fellow floormates and I outside of Seton Hall our first week at DePaul

2.) The Quarter System and the Long Winter Break: While the quarter system​ was at first hard to adjust to, as someone who came from semesters, I wouldn’t choose anything else. I like having three quarters for a multitude of reasons: it allows you to take more classes and professors, finals are easier because they only cover 10 weeks of content versus a standard 15 for semesters, and you get to enjoy the summer months a little bit longer than everyone else. While other schools get out in May when it’s too cold to enjoy the summer sun, DePaul gets out in June and doesn’t resume until the first week of September. However, the one thing that can be rough about the quarter system is the month and a half long break during the end of November and all of December. It might seem nice that you get a month and a half off from school, but if you live in the dorms your freshman year, they close for winter break and it’s mandatory that you move out for this period. I wish I had prepared for this break, because like many of my friends at DePaul, I was stuck back in the suburbs with nothing to do. My sister was at school, my parents were at work, and my DePaul friends were too scattered to hang out. I wish I had looked for a job or something to make some extra cash. However, this year’s break was a lot better! I stayed in my apartment and worked at my internship for a few weeks before going back to the suburbs to celebrate the holidays. 


3.) Free Classes at the Ray: One of the reasons I love going to DePaul is because we have awesome free classes​ at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center. While I admit I haven’t been working on my fitness this quarter (to quote philosopher Fergie), last year when I was right on campus I took advantage of many free classes. They range from yoga to cycling to strength training​. While some are easy and fun, others can get quite hard. I typically went to Wednesday morning cycling and Friday morning strength and conditioning. The Ray is really good about varying their fitness classes quarter to quarter, so if you can’t make a specific class one quarter, it will probably be offered at a different time the next quarter. Working out is a great stress reliever and it’s nice to know DePaul has people ready to yell at you to move. I didn’t discover these classes until a few weeks after my start at DePaul, so I wish I had known much sooner. I’ll miss these classes once I 

graduate! 
Shout out to the Honors Student Government ladies for supporting Blue Demon Week and wearing blue!

​​So there you have it! DePaul has a lot to offer, so if you’re coming here next year I encourage you to explore the city and our campus as much as you can before classes start picking up. What are you most looking forward to at DePaul? 


Whole Foods: The Grand Grand Opening

I know I recently blogged about the anticipation of the DePaul Whole Foods​ opening on the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton, but I believe that the grand opening morning warrants its own blog post, since the opening was exactly that – grand.​

I am in love with a grocery store. This Whole Foods is purely amazing. It knocked my socks off. Although I can’t afford a sole pack of gum or a singular apple from this organic, expensive and totally delicious store, I highly enjoyed checking it out. 


Let me give you the rundown. Whole Foods opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday the 25th. It was a chilly morning; one of those mornings where it’s particularly hard to get out of your nice, warm bed and start your day. However, I felt I had to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep to attend the hottest event of the month (just kidding, but not really) the much anticipated opening of Whole Foods. I woke up my roommate at an ungodly hour, forcing him to come with me, and off we went! 



Additionally, Whole Foods was giving away gift cards ranging from $5-$50 to the first 500 people to enter the store, with one big gift card with a $500 value. Well that was enough to get me out of bed, and just about the whole DePaul and Lincoln Park community as well. When we got to the store, there was a line crawling down North Sheffield that looked pretty discouraging in terms of obtaining a gift card. With people already packed into the store, Whole Foods was only letting in certain numbers of people at a time. Talk about a VIP event.


My roommate and I got in line with all the other eager customers and waited patiently. Whole Foods, being the amazing innovators that they are, even had heating lamps lining the sidewalk so that the people in line wouldn’t freeze to death.



The wait was worth it. As my roommate and I finally entered through the doors of Whole Foods, we were greeted with free samples of coffee and of course the coveted gift cards. Despite winning the lowest amount possible ($5), I couldn't’ have been happier. My lucky roommate won $25, but the way I see it, I basically won $30 because he wouldn't have come without me forcing him to, hence both the gift cards are mine now. Right?


The produce section of Whole Foods was completely mesmerizing. Who color coordinates their vegetables like that? Purely amazing. 


The grab and go items also didn’t disappoint. With fresh soup, sandwiches, salads, pasta salads and a pizza station along the back wall, everything was mouthwatering.


I talked so much about this store to people on Wednesday that my friends kept asking me if I worked there, or if I was some sort of student ambassador. Alas, I am merely an admirer of the grocery store, and they haven’t hired me as a celebrity endorser...yet. 


Whole Foods, if you need a student ambassador to promote and brag about the quality of your products and encourage others to venture into your stores with all its color-coded glory, you can pay me in organic food.



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. 


Whole Foods is Coming to DePaul

On Feb. 25 Whole Foods will open its doors to the Lincoln Park and DePaul community for the first time ever! Located on the corner of Fullerton Ave. and North Sheffield Ave., this is a prime location for shoppers. Directly accessible from the Fullerton Red/Brown/Purple lines, I’m sure that people from all over Lincoln Park and Lakeview will be shopping at this new store.

Although I probably will never purchase anything from this Whole Foods because I am a poor college student that shops at Aldi, I am still excited for the opening. This grocery store space has been vacant and shuttered for a little over a year now. Formerly a Dominick's (RIP Dominick’s grocery stores), it’s been quite a while since the public was allowed in this DePaul building.​ 

The renovations for this Whole Foods have been pretty intense. Located in Centennial Hall​, this building’s past year has been marked with jack hammers, sawdust, and lots of paint cans. The new Whole Foods floor plan has completely revamped the space, even moving the stairs to the second level to a different location.

Despite Whole Foods extremely high prices, this specific location is trying to cater to students and commuters on-the-go. With a walk up coffee window and a salad and sandwich bar, it will be easy for anyone to grab a quick meal between classes or on the way to work.

Currently, there are always tons of people in Whole Foods setting up supplies and objects throughout the day. It’s interesting to see the store slowly come together. Earlier this month I would have never guessed that the space would be ready to open come Feb. 25, but a lot of progress has been made in these last few weeks. 

Whole Foods is now a staple of the DePaul community. If you happen to be on the Lincoln Park campus on Wednesday, stop by and check it out. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I bet there will be some free samples there :)


Pick Me Up Cafe

This quarter I have been eating out more than I probably should. Living off the Belmont Red Line stop makes it hard to walk home without smelling the sweet scent of pizza from Blaze Pizza, bagel sandwiches from Chicago Bagel Authority, gourmet grilled cheeses and tomato soup from Cheesies, fresh falafel from I Dream of Falafel, fish tacos from Big and Little's, lemongrass chicken sandwiches from Banh Mi, gyros from Gryo-mena, -well you get the picture.

I could seriously go on for hours talking about the great places to eat, all within a mile of my apartment. I like to do this thing where I convince myself that going out to eat is a smart decision and totally economical. Case in point, I’ll be walking home from work around 4pm and my night class begins at 6pm, so I only have a limited amount of time to eat (approximately an hour and half). So if I factor in cooking, cleaning my cooking supplies, and of course, finishing up some last minute homework before my night class begins, then an hour and a half isn’t that much time.

However, I can save time by getting something to go at one of the various aforementioned restaurants! Genius, I know. Plus, I just came from work, which means I just made money, which means I can probably afford a meal. In fact, I deserve this meal! I just had a taxing day going to class, then going straight to work, and now I have more class. This meal is totally justified. Yeah, maybe I did just go grocery shopping yesterday where I bought some fast TV dinners and some pasta, but we just won’t talk about those…



That line of thinking only happens to me about 3 times a week, totally not a big deal. Just kidding, I’m really going to try and cut back on eating out for the month of February. It’s a goal of mine, so I’ll try and keep everyone updated on my success, or lack of success.

Regardless, last week I had a great meal at one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago. It happens to be in a very convenient location, and by that, I mean it’s 20 ft. away from my apartment.

Pick Me Up Cafe is a staple of DePaul student life. It has a 50's diner feel and has late hours for when you’re craving a mocha Oreo shake at 3am (that's my favorite flavor). My roommate and I went for a nice brunch the other day. Gluten and vegan friendly, the menu has a little bit of everything. My personal favorite would have to be the falafel wrap with fries. But a close second is an omelette with potatoes on the side.


If you come to DePaul, I’m pretty sure you’ll take a few midnight trips to Pick Me Up Cafe. In fact, it’s a necessity. In general, all the amazing food you can find in this city is enough of a reason to come to DePaul for school. Surrounded by amazing restaurants, your wallet might not thank you, but your stomach and taste buds will for sure.


****Pick Me Up Cafe was even featured in Time Magazine’s Travel Guide: Chicago Edition.



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. 




Back in the Windy City

After six weeks off, it is quite surreal to be back in the Windy City. As I got ready for the first day of classes and put on 3 layers of clothes, my long winter coat that stretches to my toes, my gloves, scarf and hat, I honestly wasn’t too pleased to be going outside. I’m hoping and praying that this winter won’t be as harsh as this first week back was. 

In other great news, I started off the quarter on a great note last Sunday. My friends from the suburbs came to Chicago to visit me before classes started, and it was fun to show them around the city. We spent most of our day eating and shopping, so I would say the outing was a success! 

After leading a group of girls around who aren’t used to the city life, I have compiled a list of things that everyone should know when traveling in Chicago: 


1. The art of the power walk: Since we were on a strict schedule due to limited Metra train times back to Naperville, we all engaged in the art of power walking. Power walking is a must in the city. For anyone in Chicago, I would suggest sturdy, comfortable walking shoes that can allow you to walk for miles, run when you see the L approaching, and of course, shoes that are fashionable because you never know who you’ll run into.


2. Use your own judgment with walk signs: not that I am encouraging anyone to break the law, but if you wait for the walk signs, you will seriously never get anywhere in life. In some situations, it is possible to look both ways and cross. Disclaimer: DO NOT ABIDE BY THIS TIP DURING RUSH HOUR. But all the other hours are totally up for grabs. While I admit I have made a few mistakes and crossed a little bit too liberally, resulting in a mad dash across the street, for the most part, I’ve effortlessly made it across when the signs say “Don’t Walk.”


3. Contact is a big no-no. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and can even be dangerous...well maybe not dangerous, but you get the gist. Never sit directly next to someone if there are open seats everywhere. It’s important to spread out as much as possible. Never read over someone else’s shoulder. Never get caught reading over someone else’s shoulder. And of course, give up your seat for pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone who generally looks in distress and needs to sit down (you’d be surprised how many people fit this category.)


4. Don’t buy what you can’t carry: While it may be tempting to buy everything in sight, or a singular item that weighs 50 pounds but is 75% off, be realistic. It sounds simpler than it seems. Sometimes this means walking away from the sale, and never looking back.


5. Always go for the $10 24 hour Ventra pass: Who has time to putz around at every L platform? I know I don’t. With my friends armed with 24 hour unlimited ride Ventra passes, we were able to travel anywhere at anytime. Definitely worth the $10 investment. (As a DePaul student you get a Ventra for unlimited rides during the quarter as part of your tuition!)


My friends and I were good as gold since we abided by the aforementioned tips for traveling in Chicago. To give you the quick rundown, we first made our way to Five Guys for burgers, then we ventured to the Urban Outfitters Surplus store in search of some post-holiday deals.


Next, we of course had to make a stop at Molly’s Cupcakes. While some say that Sprinkles Cupcakes are the best in Chicago, I fully endorse Molly’s. Located in Lincoln Park, it’s worth the trip if you’re coming in from the Loop. After our delicious cupcakes we took the Redline to Belmont and went shopping, and then we did some shopping, and then we did some more shopping. We ended the day eating gourmet grilled cheeses at Cheesies. 

With a great start to this quarter, I’m excited to see what else is in store for me. Be sure to stay tuned! I almost slipped on ice about 389349784 times so far, so my big wipe out is sure to be coming. Can’t wait to tell you all the juicy details. I’ll even try to take pictures when it happens :)





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!


Mother's Day and the Quarter System

Happy belated Mother's Day!!!! This past Mother's Day I planned the ultimate surprise: an unanticipated visit home to mi madre! I planned this exciting, undercover visit home with my sister and dad the week before Mother's Day and my mom was totally surprised. We got lots of pictures but since my mom started crying and I know that she reads my blog posts (HI MOM!), I thought that I should keep those photos to myself (or save for later blackmail).

Living in Naperville, I'm about a forty-five minute drive away from home or an hour Metra ride. I'm lucky to live so close to my family but for many this isn't a reality. Emergency situations do come up every once and awhile and I think that it is important to have a just-in-case plan should that ever come to be. As unfortunate as planning for these types of things are, it is definitely necessary. Many of my friends from Naperville go to various schools around the country where coming home isn't a reality for them. I also have made many California friends at DePaul which for them means only coming home for Winter Break.

Regardless of how easy it is to get home or not, DePaul's quarter system allows for plenty of family time to be spent during Winter Break. DePaul's Winter Break is six weeks long which is probably double the amount of time your friends will be on break. When they come home for Thanksgiving weekend, your winter break has just started. As you laugh at them for still having to go through finals before coming home for Christmas (or other winter holidays that are celebrated such as Kwanza, Hanukah, etc.) just remember that come Spring/Summer time, they will be laughing at you.

Being home for Mother's Day was quite awesome but as I worked on a religion mid-term paper and Spanish mid-term, they were working on their tans and celebrating the end of freshman year. That being said, there are definitely many pros and cons to being on the quarter system. Lucky for you, I will hash them out right here and now.

CONS: Staying in school until the second week in June can be a little rough. With the nice weather, all you'll want to do is go for a dip in the lake, take late night rips to Navy Pier, shopping, eating, walking, climb a tree, roll in the grass, smell the flowers, and such and such. Additionally, many of your breaks wont match up with your high school friends since DePaul's quarter schedule is so unique.

But not to worry! Because in my mind, the pros totally outweigh the cons.

PROS: I was on semesters in high school so adjusting to the quarter system was not easy at first. However, I have come to like it much more than semesters. So the quarter system at DePaul is broken down into three quarters (kind of confusing since quarter typically means four in the language of math). Each quarter is ten weeks. Essentially this means that you have three sets of midterms and three sets of finals. Although at first glance this may seem like a con, I digress. Having midterms means that the test is based off of five weeks of material and having a final means that the test is based off of ten weeks of material. Compared to semesters which translates to fifteen weeks of material covered in a final, quarter finals and midterms are much more doable. Additionally, every college has those unappealing requirements that must be taken. For me, I'm currently taking marine biology. Fascinating? Yes. Does it have anything to do with my political science major? No. (The mud-fiddler crab is closely related to the barnacle! I got that wrong on my last test and I will never forget it!) Hence, having a ten week class is much more preferable to a fifteen week class. Ten is manageable, fifteen is quite impossible. Also, you have the opportunity to take lots of classes! While in semesters, students may take anywhere from eight to ten different classes per year while those on the quarter system usually take about twelve.

Overall, I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and treated your mothers like queens. Hopefully you remembered to do the yard work and breakfast in bed and yadda yadda yadda. I hope my tips on the quarter system and being far from home help you get a feel for life at DePaul!

DePaul's New Club!

Although DePaul has more than 300 organizations, their lack of a water polo club really put a damper on the continuance of my athletic abilities. Rather than complain or try to start playing a game meant for two teams of seven people by myself, I got involved in an up-and-coming effort to start a club water polo team. Within two quarter’s DePaul Water Polo Club is now up-an-running, or should I say swimming? 

I severely missed the smell of chlorine and the 5:30 am practices that come with the aquatic lifestyle of a swimmer and water polo player (haha jk about those 5:30s…purely torturous). I tried to play land games such as soccer or volleyball or running before getting involved with the efforts to start a water polo club, but with my whole life spent in the water, I didn’t get the same satisfaction from pavement, fields, and courts. I swam and played polo all four years in high school so its absence in my life was hard at first (shout out to Metea Valley High School!) 

Being a part of a club that has only had four official practices, no tournaments or games, and is about 75% boys is much cooler than it actually sounds. We have the ability to make this club what we want it to be and shape its future. Of course, our lack of a history also poses its fair share of challenges, but the payoff during these next few years is going to be sweet : ) 

I did not take the lead on starting this club, but the President of DePaul’s Water Polo Club did a great job of communicating with advisors, the Student Government Association (SGA), and club members on the status of this venture. With his initiatives and the SGA, we received $3000 in funding for our club. This supplies us with pool time, equipment, and liability something-something (not quite on the technicalities of that one..) 



I attended last Monday’s practice and it was great to get back in the pool with my other official DePaul Club Water Polo teammates. Despite being embarrassingly out of shape, we had a successful two hours together and the plans for a potential exhibition game with another Chicago area school is in the works. We currently practice at Northeastern Illinois University because DePaul only has a shallow pool and NIU’s is deep. The commute takes about 35 minutes with a 10 minute walk but it’s so worth it to be able to play again. 

Unfortunately, the DePaul Water Polo Club is classified as a men’s club but girls can still attend practices and exhibition tournaments and games. Some of the girls are looking to recruit more girls so we can establish a club of our own. Who knows what will happen in the future? But I know that for right now, our new club is perfection! Be sure to check us out next year!