Chicago College Life has interviewed one of the Chicago college students that has been following our blog for the past couple of weeks. Lorena Lara, an 18 year old freshman living on campus at UIC, was interviewed by Chicago College Life about her experience living on campus and trying to be dependent on herself. She was a sample of our student audience whom we sought to know how much of an advantage and help our blog was to her in her life especially as a freshman.
CCL: What major are you studying?
LL: Right now I am undecided. I haven’t chosen my major yet, but I know I want to do something in the medical field because I like science.
CCL: How far is your hometown from school?
LL: It’s two hours away by train and other public transportation, or twenty-five minutes of driving.
CCL: Did your parents have an impact on your education decision?
LL: They wanted me to do something that did not involve a lot of years of studying. But I decided to go against their will because it’s my life. They actually wanted me to go to college for X-ray technician but I did not want to get an associate degree. I wanted more than that, so I decided to go to a university instead.
CCL: You said you have an undecided major, does that have anything to do with what your parents have suggested to you?
LL: They just wanted me to get an associate degree because it doesn’t take as long as a bachelor degree. My parents want me to be independent, and attending a university would make me dependent on my parents for a longer time. I am taking my time and not rushing things because I know I will be in a career that will make me become an independent afterwards.
CCL: Are you employed?
LL: I didn’t want to work my first semester of school, because I thought it would interfere with my grades. Now that I have learned how to manage my time wisely, I will probably look for a job for next semester.
CCL: How do you handle your college expenses?
LL: I get financial aid, and I get the rest of the money from my parents.
CCL: What is your housing plan like?
LL: I live in Courtyard . Our room and board also come with a a five-day meal plan, so on the weekends I either go home or go out to eat with my friends.
CCL: Where do you like to eat with your friends?
LL: I like to eat in Greek Town or Little Italy . Both neighborhoods are cheap, but when I am in a Mexican mood I go to Lalos . Every Wednesday they have Salsa night. OH MY GOD it is so fun, you have to go there!
CCL: Why did you choose to live in the dorms, and how were your parents involved with that decision?
LL: I wanted to get the full college experience, but my parents didn’t agree with me living in the dorms because they said it was going to be a waste of money. I think their decision was basically a Mexican tradition—that young ladies are to stay with their parents. But I convinced them, and they’ve accepted it.
CCL: How often do your parents check on you?
LL: During the first month of school, they would call me like three times a day. But now, it’s every other day. The first question they always ask me is if I am coming home this weekend Once I tell them that I am not, they think it’s because want to go out to a party.
CCL: How often do you go home?
LL: I go home every other weekend. When I go home I shop with my mom, because when I am home, I can’t study. That’s why I stay at school most of the time on weekends, working in the computer lab on doing papers.
CCL: How well do you know the city?
LL: I know about restaurants, but I don’t have that much information about night life, in order to be really involved in “the nightlife” I need to be 21, because most things include alcohol. I have seen the section Chicago College Life has provided about nightlife and entertainment, I am interested in it and look at it every once in a while, [Sigh] Can’t wait!
CCL: Did you have any previous knowledge about the city?
LL: I have been at a couple of clubs, for kids my age, but it’s on the north side of downtown. Now that I have been following Chicago College Life, I gained more knowledge on what is going on around me.
CCL: What do you like do for fun around the city?
LL: I go to the movies when I get home, and I go to the UIC Theater if I was not busy. As for clubs , I go where I’m legally allowed to enter; and I go bowling with my friends. I just think that I am totally missing a lot because I am not 21, but I can’t wait for that!
CCL: Do you feel more responsible now that you live away from home?
LL: Yes, I’m more responsible. It feels great because I don’t have anyone calling me to ask me what time I will be home. I can get to my dorm at any time without getting in trouble. However, I feel like living in the middle of the city makes me more vulnerable to danger, especially for a young lady like me. One tip I follow from my peer mentor and Chicago College Life is to always go out in groups—NEVER BY MYSELF.
CCL: Do you think that your life would have been different if you lived at home?
LL: Time managing can definitely be hard your first semester living in the dorms. Sometimes I feel I have to choose between sleeping, having a social life, or studying. I learned my lesson the hard way; as of now I’m on the border of failing a class because of my procrastination. But I see my friends and study with them, and I followed the tips from the topic on Midterm Madness; I hope I won’t fail!
Over all, one of the advantages that Lorena has from living in the dorms is and able to experience the city life. Living in student housing has allowed her to study with the classmates, connect with friends, and avoid hours of commuting. Even though Lorena lives away from home and is dependent on her parents, she is currently learning how to be independent.