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!