Morgan Kail-Ackerman

Favorite Professors

Looking back at my two years here at DePaul, I’ve had some wonderful Professors who I would love to take another class with. Some of these I had chosen because the class worked with my schedule or I heard recommendations, but these professors listed below were just incredible. I would highly recommend taking one of their classes if you can!

From the English department, I have taken two professors who just blew me away – Eric Selinger and Kathleen Rooney. I took a required course ENG 207 Literature from the 1900s - Present taught by Professor Eric Selinger. I was not all that excited for this English core class. It ended up being one of the best courses I have ever taken! He is so passionate and knowledgeable. He also treats his students like the adults they are, which I appreciate. Kathleen Rooney is a Creative Writing teacher and I took her ENG 291 Craft of Fiction Writing. Similarly, she is so invested in her students and passionate that, although there were some short stories I didn’t like reading, her desire to show what makes good writing can’t help but make you fall in love with her and her craft. She is a lot of work but absolutely worth it!

From the Film department, before I switched my major to English, I had two wonderful professors - Firas Aladai and Nick Schmidt. Firas Aladai taught my DC 110 Foundations of Cinema class. It was one of my first classes I took at DePaul and, surprisingly enough, it was his first class! He was a little shy at the time but he is so nice, eloquent, and taught us about some really interesting movies and basics of creating movies! My second class at DePaul was TV 110 Foundations of Television and was taught by Nick Schmidt. As a Film & Television student, I knew I wanted to focus more on Television and I was so blown away with what Nick taught us about the Television industry and some foundational television shows. I’m lucky right now because Nick is my boss on my on-campus job so I get to keep working with him!

Lastly, there are two Liberal Arts professors, Tim Mazurek and Zoaib Mirza, whose classes I really enjoyed. Professor Tim Mazurek, who taught LSP 110 Discover Chicago: Careers in Art and Culture, really inspires me to want to go out and pursue the arts. He is amazing, in particular with switching up the lessons so it was not always just a lecture and I appreciated that. Zoaib Mirza taught my LSP 121 Quantitative Reasoning II class. Although I am not someone who likes math and this class was not my favorite subject matter-wise, Zoaib made the classes interesting and pertinent to real life. I love how he always ended his classes saying “wasn’t that sweet and easy like a Hershey's kiss?”

Overall, I’m lucky to have had these great Professors and I’d highly recommend them! For me at least, a good Professor can make a bad class great!


On Campus Jobs

College is a stressful time financially. Your grandparents will tell you that they made it through college with the funds they made during their senior year of high school working at the Dairy Queen. But life is very different for us in this day and age. Being a student with a job is the norm.

Having an on-campus job is a wonderful way to make money and stay involved in your community! I work in the Production Office in the School of Cinematic Arts, where I am half a receptionist but also a producer of sorts because I organize and “rip” movies (another word for digitizing), and run our Quarterly Casting Sessions and other events.

I love this job for multiple reasons. First of all, it is nice working on campus because your peers and bosses are all on the same schedule as you. My bosses are both CDM film professors so they understand the stress of midterms week, the lull of Week 7, and the amount of work students have assigned. When I am overloaded with stress or when I have an exam when I am scheduled for work, they are very understanding. This also means that I only have to work when the academic year is up and running. I don’t have to work on school holidays. I don’t have to unless I want to, work over breaks. As an out of state student, it is great that I can work the hours when I am on campus and when I go home for spring break or summer, I don’t need to worry about being fired for having weird times off!

I also get to do something that I am mildly interested in. Although I am not a Film major anymore, I still get to work with film students, read scripts, and help with casting. These are interests that I care a lot about! My roommate is a Film major herself but she works in the Theatre School because she also has a passion for theatre! By getting an on-campus job, you have a way of making some money while still being a student, people who understand the schedule you have, and a built-in networking system and DePaul community involvement at your fingertips.

Happy job hunting!


Housing

Living on campus in a dorm is a lot of fun. Your friends live so close to you, you can be social at any hour of the night, and you only have to leave five minutes to get to class on time (unless you are going to the loop). It may not be your own personal space, you might have roommates, and a Resident Advisor is technically in charge, but it is still a room of your own that is not your parent’s property. It is freedom for the first time.

Living off campus is a whole new type of freedom. You feel like a real adult. It is very stressful going to see open houses and filling out paperwork to sign for an apartment but it is so rewarding. I lived in an off-campus apartment, about a 10-minute walk to the Lincoln Park campus, my sophomore year of college and it was about the best thing that could have happened. I ended up staying for my junior year too because my apartment was just perfect.

Freshman year is a year of discovery, seeing who you are outside of your family and usual friends. Sophomore year, at least for me, was the year of being a real adult. I had to figure out rent, utilities, and grocery shopping. I had to make sure I wear presentable clothes to class because I’m walking around in the real world, not just on the DePaul campus. I had to leave time to walk to class. I had to fit grocery shopping into my schedule, meal-planning, and cooking, in order to have food for the week.

Although it may be stressful, living off campus is definitely rewarding and totally worth it. I feel like I understand “adulting” more than I did living in a dorm. I assume not being in college will make living in an apartment different because I’ll have to juggle money and job-hunting, but it is good to know that I have the basics down of how to get an apartment and how to live in one. Once it is time for me to graduate, I feel as if I can handle the real world a little better.  


Choosing Your Major

Choosing your major is a daunting task. Basically, you have to choose what area of study you want to devote four years of your life to and then you must spend the rest of your career in a job somewhere related to that field. As an 18-year-old, that’s terrifying. How do you know what you want to do? How can you choose a major when there are so many? How do you know you’ll want to stick with it for the rest of your adult life?

The beauty of being a junior and looking back at when I applied to DePaul is I realize now that I put a lot of pressure on a decision that I ended up changing. My high school counselors stressed me out because they told me picking and changing my major would affect my future and even hurt my chances of getting a steady and high-paying job. That is not true. I was admitted into DePaul as a Film & Television major. Sophomore year I decided that Film was just not for me and, after considering a transfer to the Theatre School, I landed on being an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing. Right now I am in the process of changing that to a concentration in Literature so that I can apply for the TEACH program and maybe someday teach secondary education English.

And I am still doing okay. The world has not imploded, I am not behind in my studies, and I will still be graduating in four years. And I changed my major three times. So if you are having trouble picking a major, that is normal. If you want to radically flip a major in a whole new field, that is okay. I have a friend who was a pre-med student and now is a directing major in The Theatre School. But if you love your major and don’t want to change it, that is normal too! Do what feels right and you’ll figure it out. If you are struggling, contact an Academic Advisor on campus and they can help steer you in the right direction. I promise everything will work out.  


The Overeager Freshman

One of the most exciting parts about DePaul, at least for me, was the number of student organizations and extracurriculars you can get involved in. From sports teams to acapella groups to Greek life to the Pokémon club, there is something for everyone to do. DePaul has over 350 student organizations in just about every field imaginable. And the best part is that if there is an organization that doesn’t meet your fancy, you can go ahead and create that club!

Like your soon-to-be running theme of freshman year: with freedom comes responsibility. It is overwhelming going to the Involvement Fair (branded at DePaul the “real-life recess”) and seeing all of these clubs that you’d love to join. But I caution you to keep the clubs you actively devote your time to, to a minimum. As a freshman, you will join so many clubs and believe you can keep up with your commitments but don’t spread yourself too thin. Take the time to look over all the possibilities, but maybe select one or two that you can actively attend meetings for, become a member of, and possibly even become an executive board member. It is so much fun being actively involved in a club for years because you can bond with the people who share a similar interest with you!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do everything you love. Freshmen have the tendency to sign up for 40 clubs and only end up doing one or two because of time’s sake. I encourage you to go out and explore all the ways you could get involved but caution you not to overload your schedule. Please attend club meetings, events, on and off-campus events with the organization of your choosing! But also keep in mind that classes are important, studying is valuable, a social life is healthy, and taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. I wish I told my freshman self that I could not be a member of DePaul Dance Company, DePaul Theatre Union, Writer’s Block, Chinese Studies Association, DemonTHON, DePaul Democrats, DePaul Women’s Soccer, DePaul Film Society, and HerCDM at the same time. In the end, I consistently chose DePaul Dance Company and DePaul Theatre Union, the latter of which I am now President of.

Go out, attend all the Info Sessions and Club Meetings you can, and then choose one or two clubs that mean a lot to you. You’ll appreciate this advice by the end of Fall Quarter when you are slammed with finals. Good luck!