The DePaul Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network (ASK) is an awesome network that connects DePaul students with alumni that are currently working as industry professionals. The ASK Network is full of DePaul alumni that want to help current DePaul students succeed in their career. My freshman year, I really struggled a lot deciding what to major in and what career and industry would be the best fit for me.
The ASK network helped me a ton because I was able to connect with tons of people in different career fields that I was considering and ask them questions about it. It also helped that you can search for alumni, not just based off their career field or major, but also their cultural background, what clubs they were involved in, and so it's easier to find alumni that have similar experiences as you.
It's really helpful whether you’re looking for someone that shares a particular background or identity with you and know what their experience is in their job field. I was able to find a ton of different people working in various fields that I was interested in and then interview them about their experience. I ended up getting a lot of information about the IT and computer science field that made it way easier to decide what to major in after knowing what the industry is like.
Vincentian Service Day is a DePaul staple that started in 1998 and takes place every year in May. Each year, over 1500 students, staff, and alumni participate in a day of volunteering and service. When signing up, you get to choose between over 30 different communities and organizations to volunteer for around the Chicagoland area. It’s an awesome way to make an impact on your community. This year was my first time taking part in Vincentian Service Day, and I had a great time! If it is your first year participating in it as well, I recommend doing it with friends because it makes it so much more fun being with people you know.
My friends and I chose to volunteer with the DePaul Cities Project for their annual Superhero Run that raises money for Chicago Public School students. The Superhero Run is a 5k run that encourages people to dress up as superheroes. It was so cool to see tons of families and kids dressed up and getting involved in a great cause. We spent the day cheering on the runners and passing out water. At the end, all the runners and volunteers were given superhero medals and we headed back to the Quad for a huge picnic. I had so much fun and genuinely felt great about getting involved and making a difference in the community. I plan to continue participating in VSD and getting involved in community service, and I definitely recommend you all do it too!
Most people already know what it means to be green or environmentally friendly. But with a busy schedule and classes to worry about it can be hard to make a ton of effort in a whole lifestyle change. There are tons of small changes you can make every day that have a bigger impact than you think.
Walk, ride a bike or take public transit
Instead of driving or taking an Uber places, try walking, taking public transit, or carpooling. Chicago has a great and convenient public transit system that makes it so much easier to avoid driving. You can even avoid parking fees and wasting time finding a place to park. The fewer cars there are on the road, the less it contributes to air pollution
Need to a buy a whole new wardrobe for next season? Thrift shopping is your best friend. It's much cheaper than fast fashion or department stores, reduces waste, and supports local businesses. Re-wearing/repurposing your old clothing is really helpful to stay on top of trends and reduce clothing waste. Investing in reusable products like metal water bottles and reusable bags when shopping is an easy way to reduce the amount of plastic consumption and pollution.
Taking notes electronically is a great way to save paper and a lot faster than writing by hand in a notebook. Buying e-books is another great way you can save paper and it’s also a cheaper alternative to expensive college textbooks.
One of my first ever programming classes at DePaul was Intro to Computer Science where we learned the language Python. Having never learned coding before, it was overwhelming and kind of difficult for me and a lot of the other students. I made the huge mistake of never visiting the CDM Tutoring Center when I had trouble with this class. Looking back, this class wasn’t as difficult as it seemed at first, had I gone to the tutoring center or talked to my professor. When I started going there Spring Quarter for another class, it made understanding the program and getting a good grasp of it much easier. A lot of the tutors are graduate or undergraduate students as well so they have a good grasp on the concepts and they’re very understanding and easy to talk to.
It’s also super helpful if your professor’s office hours don’t work with your schedule or you need last minute help on a problem with someone. The Tutoring Center has a bunch of tutors that can help with tons of different coding languages like Java, C++, HTML, etc. It’s also really great because you can schedule either one-on-one meetings, phone calls, or video calls so there’s a lot of flexibility for you get the tutoring you need. The Tutoring Center isn’t just for coding/programming classes, it offers different tutors in programs like photoshop, After Effects or Game Design for the Schools of Cinematic Arts and Design. The CDM Tutoring Center is something you should all take advantage of and learn from my mistake, especially if it’s your first time learning or using these programs!
I’ve taken my fair share of online classes at DePaul. This quarter I ended up taking two online classes and two in-person classes so I have time to focus on things outside of school and work on it during my own time. It can be difficult at first if you’ve never taken an online class before, but it just takes getting used to and a LOT of self-discipline.
Meet your professor - The first thing I would recommend is getting to know you professor. This isn’t necessary but it’s useful to go in during office hours and get help or ask questions face to face.
Organization – Organization and time management is key when it comes to online classes. One thing that helps me is setting email notifications on D2L that sends you emails reminding you when quizzes or assignments are due. You can also add reminders to your calendar of any important dates and remember to check D2L at least once a week to make sure you’re on top of things.
Don’t Procrastinate - Trust me, it’s so easy to procrastinate or ignore an online class because you don’t have to be in a class at a set time, and doing it all in one day. This will only end up giving you unnecessary stress to get everything done right before it’s due. It’s better to work on classwork throughout the week and getting it done ahead of time.
Treat it like an In-Person Class – Some people think they can get away with not watching a lecture or doing a reading because it’s an online class, but that’s not the case. The best way to make sure you pass the class and learn is to watch the lecture and treat it like any other in-person class. Some CDM classes are filmed on COLtube or depending on your professor, they’ll upload their own lectures to D2L.
Best Buddies is a great organization that’s centered around inclusion and building relationships with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I recently heard about this organization through a friend and attended a meeting from the DePaul chapter. It’s a really cool experience because you get to meet awesome people and learn about the community. Best Buddies focuses on promoting inclusivity and ending offensive language towards people with disabilities. Best Buddies allows people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to get paired up with a buddy. They’re also a non-profit and raise money for promoting awareness and inclusion.
Best Buddies has lots of meetings and events every quarter where you can meet new people and get involved in a good cause. One of their biggest events is the annual Friendship Walk on April 14. The Friendship Walk is an awesome experience and an opportunity to support others in your community, and contribute to a great charity as well.
Chicago is full of countless TONS of cool restaurants to try out, it can sometimes be overwhelming. When I was a freshman, I wanted to check out every new restaurant I saw. But obviously this could be a little difficult when you find yourself spending too much. A good way to avoid this is to try not to eat out too often. Instead, opt for cooking if you live on campus or bringing food from home.
A friend of mine recently introduced me to a Mediterranean restaurant called Oasis Cafe in the Loop. It’s a great place to get a quick bite to eat that’s also very affordable! The location is a little strange, because it requires you to go through several jewelry shops and all the way to the back. But trust me, it’s very much worth it! Oasis Cafe has tons of Mediterranean options that are both meat and vegetarian. What I like most is that their meat is all Halal. This is great because there aren’t many Halal food options near campus for Muslim students, so it’s great that there’s one nearby that’s also cost-friendly. I definitely recommend checking out Oasis Cafe the next time you’re in the Loop and craving Mediterranean food.
This past week, I attended the Fast-a-thon Dinner with the DePaul UMMA (United Muslims Moving Ahead), which is one of the biggest UMMA events of the year. It allows people to experience fasting, sometimes for the first time, and break it together. Every year, the group chooses a charity to raise money for and raise awareness about an issue. This year’s charity was Muhsen, an non-profit organization that strives to raise awareness about disabilities and establish inclusive spaces within the Muslim community. This is a really great cause that makes accommodations for disabled people in the public, implementing programs focused on educating people on disabilities, and more. There was also a featured guest speaker who touched on their personal experiences and importance of special needs inclusion in the community.
Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience that helped raise awareness about disabilities in the Muslim community. The UMMA has a very inclusive and friendly atmosphere and encourages people from all backgrounds to attend and learn more about Muslim experiences.
I definitely checking it out next year if you’ve never been before and experience something new and contribute to good cause as well. I also encourage you all to check out Muhsen and help out in any way you can!
Choosing a university to spend the next 4 or so years of your life is a very difficult decision. I remember when I was going through the college app season around this time last year, there were a lot of things I had to consider. But through it all, DePaul was my dream school and I decided it was the best decision for me overall! Here a list of why I chose DePaul:
1. The City: DePaul is located right in the heart of the city. There so much to do in the Chicago, with Millennium Park just a short walk away and so much more to explore. As someone from the suburbs, I really wanted to go to college in a place gave me opportunities to explore the city. DePaul has campuses in Lincoln Park and the Loop, which gives you both experiences in two very different parts of the city.
2. Diverse majors that are offered: I started college unsure of what I wanted to major in, I’m that's the case for a lot of incoming freshmen. Luckily, there's so many majors and programs to choose from, you're bound to find something you're interested in! I was also able to add a Digital Cinema minor because of the great film school and the different types of minors within the CDM.
3. Opportunities: DePaul is great place for networking and finding jobs or internships after college. Through the Handshake network, it's so easy to find a internship related to your interests. You can also get networking opportunities by joining clubs, talking to professors, or talking to the Career Center.
4. Commuter friendly: I loved that DePaul was very accommodating to its commuter student population. I know lots of students who, like me, commute to school every morning. Sometimes for over an hour each day. Commuter services include commuter lounges in the loop and commuter events which are great ways to relax between classes and your train ride home!
Although it's only my second year, I’m so happy with the decision I made to go to DePaul, and I love all the experiences I’ve gained here. I can’t imagine going to college anywhere else. Good luck to everyone’s college decisions this year!
As a commuter student myself, I completely understand the struggle of waking up super early to catch a train or missing the last train and ending up being late to class. I commute from the suburbs which is about 45 minutes away and I usually drive or take the metra. I’ve experienced it all, from being stuck in traffic to missing a train and ending up missing half of class. It can be tough, but it pays off in the end if you’re looking to save money in college or stay close to home.
DePaul has tons of resources that make commuting easier for students.
CTA U-Pass -
Regardless if you commute or not, your U-pass will be your best friend when you’re in the city. It gives you access to unlimited CTA train and bus rides while classes are in session as a student at DePaul.
Commuter Lounge -
The commuter lounge is located on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center in the Loop Campus. It has comfortable couches, study desks, televisions, etc. If you don’t have a dorm or an apartment to go to, it's a great place to relax or take a nap after classes.
Events for Commuters -
DePaul hosts a ton of events and lunches that are made specifically for commuter students. They usually include free food, games, and movie screenings in the Loop campus that are at reasonable times, so you don’t have to take a late train back home.
Most of you are probably familiar with the film student organizations at DePaul like The Digital Cinema Collaborative (DCC), but the DePaul Film Fatales is another student org that's all about women in the film industry. Film Fatales supports women with academic and creative needs within the digital cinema field. They have tons of workshops for camera operating, sound equipment, and more, which are focused on teaching women and taught by women. They’re a great way to meet and network with people that are already in the industry and learn from professionals. It's also a great way to get information about job or volunteer opportunities and current projects that others are working on. Along with workshops and informational meetings, there are also tons of film screenings. All of the films that are shown are usually by female directors, with plots that are focused on female characters. The most recent screening was of a film The Mourning Forest by Naomi Kawase, about a nurse who mourns the death of her child. DePaul has tons of clubs that promote diversity and inclusion, and this one example of it. The Film Fatales is a great club especially for anyone who wants to meet more female filmmakers or learn more about the field from a female perspective.
Self-care isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re a college student with a busy life. We all, including myself, fall into the habit of overdoing ourselves with too many things at once, but it leaves you feeling stressed, sleep-deprived, and mentally exhausted. As a college student, it's hard to prioritize your own mental health when we need to prioritize academics and work first. It's so important to prioritize self-care along with your other activities, here are some of my tips for practicing self-care in college.
Schedules are key - Start by prioritizing your classes, work, and major due dates. Then your other activities that you need to attend and add them as they come up. If you have a set schedule, you’ll know what days you’re free to take some time off, and when you’re not.
Don’t overdo all-nighters - Sleep is super important when you’re a student. It can be tempting to just stay up all night and study for that midterm or finish up that one assignment. I usually do an all-nighter if I absolutely need to get something done, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. Instead, I would recommend starting assignments or studying as soon as you know when their due and avoid procrastinating.
Take a day off - It’s okay to take a day to just be unproductive and have a breather from the stress of school.
Take care of yourself - Sometimes self-care doesn’t look like face masks and bath bombs. Sometimes it is just making sure you drank enough water or got out of bed in the morning. Whatever self-care looks like to you, make sure you’re doing what makes you feel better and being responsible.
Once again, it's that time of year to get back on your regular sleeping schedule and kiss summer goodbye! The back to school season always brings a mix of emotions: anxiety, sadness, excitement, you name it. Luckily, DePaul. My favorite event that DePaul does at the beginning of the year is the Loop Block Party, which is basically a party with games, food trucks, and music held across the street. Whether you’re an inexperienced college freshman or a senior, this event is a great way to meet new friends, learn about the campus clubs, or just chill between classes.
The Involvement Fair is a great way for anyone who wants to get involved on campus. Although it’s known for being solely for First-year students, it’s a good way for anyone to learn about what's going on at DePaul. You can learn about tons of different organizations that are on campus. This is a great way to meet new people and get more involved in the community. From clubs to sororities and fraternities, the involvement fair will have something in it for you.
Vinny Fest is a highly anticipated annual event, held at the Lincoln Park quad. The festival is a celebration of St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. It includes games, raffles, trivia, photos, and of course food! This is a great way for students to get to know one another and just hang out. There's always TONS of events going on at DePaul, especially during welcome week, make sure to keep an eye out!