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Lorena’s Life in the City

1 Dec


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!

Little Italy in Chicago

Lalos Logo

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!

Lorena 2nd from left bowling with her friends

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.


Winter and Holiday Fun!

29 Nov

Winter break is coming up which means there’s a lot of free time to go out and take advantage of what the city has to offer. You can play in the snow, visit outdoor Christmas markets, check out Christmas exhibits and light displays. Chicago College Life wanted to give everyone a few places to go to the make the most out of your well deserved time off from school!

Do you like ice skating? The most popular ice rink is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink located at Millennium Park. Entering the rink is free, but skates cost $10 if you don’t have your own pair. There are plenty of other places in Chicagoland that offer outdoor fun. Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier is also a good choice to look into. There is also free skating here and because of the locations of these rinks, Depaul, Loyola, and UIC students should have a fairly easy time getting there.

Are you one of those few people who like being outside in the cold? If so, you should head on out to Villa Olivia Country Club in Bartlett, IL. In the winter, this country club offers skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more. These events are held every day, weather permitting. Prices range from $29-$39, for individual adults but you can also bring your friends along and take advantage of group prices. Also, for the people who can’t ski or snowboard, there are lessons for you at a reasonable price.

Maybe you’re the artsy type who likes going to museums and look at fancy exhibits about the holidays? The Art Institute of Chicago has different holiday themed activities that are perfect to experience during your time off from school. You and some friends can build your own gingerbread houses or eat and enjoy holiday sweets.

If you’re looking for something more visually appealing, visit the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Light exhibits. These exhibits feature culturally unique and decorated trees from more than 50 countries from around the world. So not only will you enjoy the holiday essence, but you might even gain a history lesson on why Christmas is celebrated differently around the world. There’s even ethnic dancing and singing throughout the season. Everything is included with general admission and there are even student and group discounts available.

Would you like to do some holiday shopping outside of the mall or the Magnificent Mile? The Lincoln Square Christkindlmarket offers traditional German food, drinks, music, and decorations for people of all ages to enjoy. There are a bunch of vendors selling everything from German beer (for the 21 and up crowd) to schnitzel and baked goods. While there, you can listen to various choirs from around Chicagoland. You can buy winter accessories such as gloves, hats, and scarves. Event organizers also look for volunteers to help them put this event together so if you’re willing to help out, this will be a great opportunity to volunteer while still having a good time during the holiday season.

It’s important as college students to remember to have fun and that there is a life outside of school. Hopefully, everyone can enjoy themselves, get into the holiday spirit, and relax so you can have a fresh start for next semester. If you want to find more activities, visit The Chicago Traveler’s website to find more. Happy Holidays from CCL.

Livin In The Halls

23 Nov

So we know you go to school in Chicago, but where do you live? Are you a commuter student? Do you have an off-campus apartment or do you live on campus in a residence hall? Living on your own for the first time comes with its challenges and experiences you will never forget.   Moving away from home was an exciting, but challenging experience for me.  I was shy as a freshman and living in the residence halls was one way that helped me to meet new people since I lived on a floor with 60 other freshman!  I also got involved from the start with residence hall leadership organizations.  These have helped me not only to develop as a leader, but also as an individual.  It also helped me to meet a solid group of friends and learn how to live on my own!  As a veteran campus housing resident (and resident assistant), living in a residence hall community on-campus at your institution can have its perks.

Rent. Yes, money can either be very important when considering where to live. Unlike an off-campus house or apartment, student loans can be used to fund your housing experience. It’s also great because all utilities are included and paid with housing fees, so there is no worry month to month about making rent.

Transition. Those first couple days away from home can be tough. Your parents aren’t there to make you dinner or to talk to after school. You are on your own now and need to do things for yourself! It’s convenient to live in campus housing just for the fact that housing staff is there to help you as you learn how to live by yourself. Resident assistants and academic mentors are current students who live on your floor and are there to answer questions and help you adapt to living in the away from home.

Community. Yes, it’s cool to get an apartment off-campus with a bunch of friends. However, how cool is it to be placed on a floor with a lot of new people? There are so many opportunities to meet new people and learn about yourself while gaining exposure to people of different cultures and backgrounds. In on-campus housing, resident assistants plan programs and events to help you meet new people, create bonds and build friendships.

City living. We know how awesome living in the city is, but did you know that resident students can get awesome discounted tickets to major city attractions? As a way to build community, housing staff will put on programs and get group rate tickets to a lot of city attractions like movie, theater, and sporting event tickets (you have to support your Chicago teams, and how better to do that than at a discounted rate?).

Safety. All residence halls are locked and secured 24/7. Living in Chicago may have you and your parents concerned about your safety. With on-campus housing, all doors have to be accessed with keys and guests have to be checked into residence buildings.  There are also desk and security workers who monitor who enter and exit the building to insure a safe environment for students.  Each Chicago campus also have blue light systems on their campus.  These units are located every 10-25 feet and each is equipped with a push button to talk directly to campus police.

Leadership. There are so many leadership opportunities available to on-campus residents. Student leadership groups such as your school’s Residence Hall Association (aka Residence Hall Council at DePaul) and the National Residence Hall Honorary provide social, leadership conference and service learning opportunities. Also, after living in the residence halls for a year, you can apply to be a resident assistant or academic mentor. Getting involved in these organizations helps you to network and make new friends, all while building your resume!

Check out your school’s on-campus housing ( UIC, Loyola, DePaul, Roosevelt, Columbia) website and learn about all the amenities and opportunities that residence hall living provides!



Thanksgiving Moments: Words from Students

19 Nov

It’s the day everyone has been waiting for! College kids always seem to love this holiday because you get some much needed time off before finals.  It’s the time to be with family, friends, and other loved ones, eat delicious food and watch football until you can barely function. I’m talking about Thanksgiving: the precursor to Christmas, the other favorite holiday of some college students. Chicago College Life wanted to know how others like to spend their holiday, so we asked around to get the scoop on your favorite things to do over Thanksgiving break.

There are a multitude of people you can spend Thanksgiving with. These people can be family, a significant other, friends or a mix of all the important people in your life! It’s fun to catch up with others. It’s great to have most of your family in one place. A huge part of trying to coordinate this holiday chaos is figuring out who will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner because that’s the place where everyone wants to be.

“For Thanksgiving, I spend time with just my family at home, and we cook at home also. Then we just fall asleep.” – Shaughnessy, St. Xavier University

“I spend time at home with my family, then we usually eat at my grandparents’ house.” – Armani, Columbia College

“I’m usually with my family and boyfriend on Thanksgiving.” – Shastina, Chicago State University

For those of us not lucky enough to live at home, our commutes are longer than the walk from the bedroom to the kitchen. Of course, many people can’t hang with their families if they’re not at home, so many students who stay on campus drive home or catch the train.  Of course, the big issue here isn’t how you get home, but what you eat when you arrive.

Some enjoy traditional meals.

“Deep fried turkey breast, homemade macaroni and cheese, dressing and cranberry sauce, and gumbo are my favorites. I like them because they have been made ever since I can remember for Thanksgiving.” – Shaughnessy

Some prefer something different.

“I love Chinese food & French fries [on Thanksgiving].  I really don’t know why they’re my favorite to be honest.” – Brittany, St. Xavier University

And who can resist mom’s cooking?

“I love to eat my mother’s mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and greens. She also makes a great chocolate éclair. They’re the best simply because she makes them.” – Arman , UIC

There’s always something to look forward to as well.

“Baked Ham is my favorite because I don’t usually have that on a regular basis.” – Michelle, The Art Institute of Chicago

But, everyone isn’t so lucky to eat at home.

“Well, I usually work on Thanksgiving day, and have been for the past 4 years so someone brings me a plate of food to work.” – Laila, UIC

Do you help cook the turkey? Most students said no. They’re at home to relax and enjoy the holiday. Since they are college students though, there is still homework to be done for some, which means not enjoying themselves to the fullest.

“No, I don’t do homework and hopefully my teachers won’t assign it either.” – Shaughnessy

“I do homework. For some reason, professors think that we have all the time in the world over break to do papers.” – Laila

“Yes, I do homework. I usually study for finals, but I make sure it doesn’t interfere with family time.” – Brittany

Do you help others on Thanksgiving? Some responded that they may give food to neighbors who may not be fortunate enough to have enough food and that in the future, they would like to volunteer and donate their time and material possessions to those in need. They are thankful that they have enough to be able to have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy everything about this holiday.

“I love the good food, being around my family, and us recognizing that we are blessed and thankful. We have a place to live and each other to spend Thanksgiving with, and that’s all I want.” – Brittany

Brittany summed it up greatly. Thanksgiving is about being happy that you’re with people who love you and who you love in return. Let’s be realistic; it’s also about the tasty food. This is one of the few times each year that families can get together so be thankful for this holiday, eat lots of food, and kick back.

Happy Thanksgiving from CCL.


Be fit, Be Happy: Sara Shares Her Story

18 Nov

Did you know that almost 50% of college males and 30% of college females are overweight?  10% of all college students are considered obese.  Alarming, isn’t it?  We all know that obesity is an epidemic in America, but what are we doing to fight obesity in our own lives?

Chicago College Life (CCL) would like to introduce you to Sara*, a nineteen year old Psychology major from UIC.  Sara battled obesity during her early teens, and recently reached her goal weight after continually motivating herself and staying dedicated to changing her lifestyle.  Sara sat down with CCL to share her weight loss story and tips about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while in college.

*name has been changed.

Chicago College Life: Can you describe your life and how you viewed yourself before your weight loss?

Sara: I’m not one of those people that you see on infomercials for weight loss products, who explain they had an absolutely terrible, lonely life when they were heavier.  I was happy.  I had a great family life, lots of friends and a boyfriend.  The one thing that I didn’t like about myself was my lack of self-confidence.  Yes, I think it’s normal for any teenager to have some self-confidence issues, but I think being overweight amplified my low self-confidence.  It would take me such a long time to get ready for school in the morning.  I would try on outfit after outfit and make sure my hair and makeup were perfect before I would leave my house.  Then, I focused too much on the outward beauty and didn’t realize how beautiful of a person I was overall- overweight or not.

CCL: What made you decide to change your lifestyle?

Sara: Health problems run in my family.  Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke– you name the problem, we have it.  Funny how all those problems are amplified by being over-weight, right?  Well, when I was sixteen, my family faced two major health scares.  My grandmother died suddenly of a stroke that was brought mainly by diabetes.  Later that same year, my family doctor told me I had slightly high blood pressure for my age.  Being young, you think that you are invincible.  I didn’t want to believe that I was unhealthy and putting my life in danger.  But I had to ask myself, do I want to continue living this unhealthy lifestyle that I’m living with little exercise and too much junk food and end up developing the same health problems as my family members?  I decided that I wanted to make a change for the better and put myself at a lower risk for developing all those health problems.

CCL: What was the first step you took?

Sara: I wanted results really fast.  No-carb diets were a huge fad at that time, so I jumped on that bandwagon.  My “diet” lasted about 2 days until I couldn’t resist the urge to eat bread.  Sad, I know!  But, I now know that you can’t just switch your lifestyle instantly.  It takes a lot of hard work and diligence in order to live healthy, especially with all the temptations that we have in our daily lives!  [Since I was] disappointed in my first attempt to lose weight, I [asked] my mom about how she thought I should lose weight.

You can't deprive yourself of one food group to lose weight! Moderation is key!

CCL: What did your mom suggest?

Sara:  My mom and I talked about my grandmother and her health problems.  [I mentioned my fear] that I would become unhealthy like her when I got older, since I already had high blood pressure.    My mom suggested Weight Watchers because some of her friends had been doing really well at losing weight with the program.  So I tried it out.  It had to be better than the no-carb ridiculousness I had tried to put myself through!

CCL: Did it work?

Sara: Yes it did, but let me tell you it wasn’t easy.  Adding physical activity to my life was brutal!  I fought it at first.  I started walking and jogging outside, and even tried to find some sport that we played in gym class to get more interested in [physical activity], but it just wasn’t for me.  It wasn’t until we had our gym curriculum changed the following semester of high school that I discovered yoga!

Find an activity you enjoy 🙂

I fell in love with it!  I did keep walking and jogging since Weight Watchers called for some form of cardio.  The second part that sucked was being the only sixteen year old more focused on trying to figure out how many point my food was worth, when I was out to dinner with my friends, rather than having a good time.  I tried to hide the fact that I was on Weight Watchers because it felt like such a weird thing for a sixteen year old to do.  However,  I found that once I told my close friends what I was doing, they totally supported me.

CCL: How long did it take you to get to your healthy weight?

Sara: 3 years.  I had to completely re-focus and change my eating and working out habits.  It was tough, but now I can’t imagine living how I did before.

CCL: Did moving away from home have any effect on your weight loss?

Sara: Yes, definitely.  People aren’t lying when they tell you to watch out for the “freshman 15.”  I didn’t gain 15 pounds- it was more around five or six.  But let me tell you, being 5’1”, any weight I gain shows!  I thought I would be okay if I wasn’t so strict with my daily points, but the all-you-can-eat plan in the cafeteria caused me to backtrack.
I had to learn to control myself more, and maintain the lifestyle that I worked so hard for.  On a positive note, moving to campus gave me free access to the UIC gym!  I loved having the options of working out on a bike, treadmill or elliptical!  It made it easier to switch up my workouts, and not get bored with a routine.

CCL: Do you have any advice for other college students on how to stay healthy?

Sara: Be mindful of what you eat, but don’t punish yourself for eating some junk food.  We all need to have french fries or that slice of pizza from time to time!  Make sure you eat some fruits and vegetables everyday!  Also, be aware of calories that you are drinking!  Alcohol is loaded with calories and so are coffee and smoothie drinks.    Also, get some exercise!  Walking to class doesn’t count.  Try some of the cool classes that the rec[reation] center offers like yoga, step or my favorite- spinning.  I just found out that there are classes you can take for academic credit like aerobic conditioning, military fitness and weight lifting.  You choose the lifestyle you want.  Make small choices to keep yourself healthy.

You have lots of options!

Each college campus provides resources to their students to help them make healthy choices for their overall well-being.  Check out the Healthy Eating Tips from Loyola’s Wellness Center website.  Also, UIC and DePaul both have walking clubs that students and employees can join!  Don’t forget to stop by the gym and look at what free, drop- in group classes are available, and bring a friend to help mix up your workout routine!  Living a healthy lifestyle is important for all college students!  Make a few healthy choices each day, and remember to make your overall well-being a priority!

Need more suggestions?  Check out the daily Groupon & their daily fitness deals or Ana’s Turkey Trot blog on how to get through the food-pack Thanksgiving holiday!


Come On, Do the Turkey Trot!

17 Nov

Food Coma?

Don’t let turkey weight gain hold you back from gobbling up Thanksgiving dinner this holiday!  You know you’ve missed mom’s cooking, and how could you resist pumpkin pie. College students—don’t fret! CCL has an easy solution that can help you return to your normal size, in no time.

Have you ever heard of the Turkey Trot? In case you didn’t get the scoop,

Boost your resume, and run for charity this Thanksgiving!

 the 5K Marathon for Running in the USA is being held in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25th. What are you waiting for?! Shake a tail feather, and run the Chicago Marathon for charity. All proceeds benefit The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. Don’t be a stuffed bird this holiday!

The marathon would be great to put on your resume. Plus, it can help you stand out from others and is especially useful with today’s competitve job market.



Black Wednesday, Are You In?

16 Nov

The week of Thanksgiving is always jam packed with things to do. Wednesday night a.k.a Thanksgiving Eve is when people like to get together to drink and party with their friends. The next day is Thanksgiving which means lots of delicious hangover food (or awkward family moments). Then comes Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year with every store competing to offer the best prices and deals. Although Black Friday is considered the biggest shopping day of year, Black Wednesday is like an unofficial holiday. It is the busiest night for bars across the city and probably the most memorable night of the week of Thanksgiving.

This is great for college students, because everyone comes back home for the holiday. Black Wednesday is a chance to reconnect with old friends and share crazy college stories over a nice cold beer, or loosen up before that oh-so-eventful family-filled Thanksgiving dinner.  November weather in Chicago has been pretty unpredictable and amazing, so hopefully it stays that way and we don’t have to freeze our butts off on the way to the next bar!

On another note, have you ever wondered why it’s called “Black Wednesday?” We did too!  It was coined the term, “Black Wednesday,” because of the high traffic and volume of people at the bars. CCL wanted to find you the best bar deals in Chicago, so we searched high and low to see which places had the most to offer in lieu of this unofficial holiday. Here are some great places to start:






Bull & Bear

431 N. Wells St.


This year is Bull & Bear’s second annual Black Wednesday Bash.

The deal: $3 Coors light bottles

$5 Malibu, Absolut, and Jameson cocktails






RockIt Bar & Grill

3700 N. Clark

Chicago, IL

The deal: $40 food and drink package. Starts at 9pm, includes cocktails, domestic beer, house red and white wine. Sorry folks this deal excludes shots and Red Bull.


Morgan’s Bar & Grill on Maxwell Street

1325 South Halsted Street

Chicago, IL

The deal: $3 Domestic bottles

$3 Domestic drafts

Junior’s Sports Lounge

724 West Maxwell Street

Chicago, IL

The deal: $5 Mojitos

$5 Specialty Drinks

Hawkeye’s Bar & Grill

1458 West Taylor Street

Chicago, IL

The deal: Altos $3 Blue Agave shots

$3 Altos Margarita and Altos Strawberry Margaritas

Corona & Corona light bottles

Pacifico and Victoria 
Bottles $4.00 Buckets $18.00

1/2 Price pizzas after 3P.M.








Hamilton’s Bar and Grill

6341 North Broadway Street

Chicago, IL

The Deal: $3 Coors Light jumbo drafts

$3.50 Blue MF-ers

$4 Car Bombs









Bruno and Tim’s Lounge and Liquor

6562 North Sheridan Road

Chicago, IL

The Deal: $2.50 PBR

$2.50 Bud Light Golden Wheat

$2.75 Domestics

$3.75 Imports

Whether you go to school at DePaul,UIC or Loyola, we found places close to these universities for you and your friends to enjoy great deals before you head home for the holiday! You’ll be wishing you had that drink next time you’re out Christmas shopping. Happy Holidays and cheers to a hang over free Thanksgiving!


Let Your Spirit Guide You

12 Nov

Judaism SymbolOne of the goals of Chicago College Life (CCL) is to encourage students to be active and join different organizations.  Many of our previous posts have highlighted various social, political, and community groups and organizations for college students to take part in. For Example: Student Activism: The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Meet Saba, That’s Pretty Good Stuff Want to get involved? A Student Shares Her Experiences.   However, we have yet to address another type of organization that has just as much of an impact on student’s lives: religion. Our staff would like to branch out and share more details about religious organizations and how students benefit from them. Therefore, CCL surveyed numerous students in order to gain different perspectives about religion on campus, and why religious organizations appeal to them.

Buddhist Symbol







Rhonda, a professor at St. Xavier University, based her perspective benefits students may gain from involvement with religious organizations from her own experience as a very active member in the Catholic Church. Rhonda says:

“When students are involved in a religious organization, it allows them to meet people who have the same beliefs, or meet people who really don’t have the same beliefs. This becomes a learning experience for students. They get to share ideas, stories, faith, and spread joy and love with others.”

There were also students who expressed guilt from having strayed from their religion, and wish to regain their faith by expressing their emotional needs with others who felt like that had missed out. Abby, a student at IIT has recently joined the Catholic Spiritual Life, explains, “A simple way for college students to really express their emotions is to participate in religious groups and organizations that only speak spiritually.”


Islamic Symbol

In addition, it is beneficial for students to join religious organizations, because it allows them to be spiritually active. Claudia, a student at IIT, shares her opinion:

Students always get involved in some type of organization, but many do not promote religion. Most organizations deal with sororities and fraternities. When a student joins a religious group it becomes more of a serious issue to them, because it’s somewhere they can speak about family issues, and ask religious questions that they didn’t have answers to. Students go through a lot during a school year, so joining a spiritual/religious organization can help keep them involved in something that is a life changing experience.

Joining a religious organization can actually make students that are away from home and outside their religious culture feel a little closer to home. On the UIC Campus, the John Paul II Newman Center is a Catholic center and church that allows students of all religions and belief systems to use their space and resources, to come in and pray and seek guidance in whatever they need emotionally.

St. Paul Chapel
Map of Newman Chapel’s Location at UIC

There are many options for students who are interested in participating in religious groups. In Chicago, private universities such as DePaul and St. Xavier practice Catholicism as their main religion. Therefore, students have the opportunity to experience the many religious organizations available at their schools. At schools like IIT, students are notified about various religions, and are able to learn and gain access to these religions at orientation before they even start school!







All in all, a great majority of students do not realize the positive effect of participating in religious groups. After surveying various college campuses, it was clear that students enjoy religious organizations because it is a significant stress reliever from school and they offer a great support system for those who are suffering from pressure at work, or hardships at home. Let your spirit be your guide, and explore a religious group today!

Ready for the Real World?

5 Nov

From the first few weeks of college, while cramming for exams and pulling all-nighters to finish those annoying 15 page papers, you say to yourself, “Man, I can’t wait to graduate.”  But a couple years later when that time finally comes, do you still feel that way?  Chicago College Life is here to share some real opinions from some Chicago college seniors who are (almost) ready to enter the “real world” and see if all that hard work was worth it.

You're almost done with undergrad, now what?

Graduating from college is not as easy as taking all of the required classes for your major and getting your diploma.  Each college and major have different requirements for finals projects, interviews and seminar classes that senior students are required to complete prior to graduation.  Whitney, a Secondary Math Education major from DePaul University, explained,

“On top of having to get through my last set of classes this quarter while searching for a job, I also have to complete an exit interview for my honors program.  I knew the interview was coming, I just wasn’t ready to cram one more thing into my crazy schedule.”

You can learn from Whitney’s struggle with time management by meeting with an academic advisor or counselor at least once every quarter or semester to make sure that you are on track with your classes and well-aware of any your major’s graduation requirements you have to complete before getting that diploma.

“Full Time Job?  Oh, yeah!  I better get one of those!”  joked Mike, a Civil Engineering major from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I can’t believe I’m already a senior and graduating in a couple of weeks.  It’s hard to believe that I’m going to have to give up the college lifestyle that I’ve learned to love and have to turn into a responsible adult with a nine to five job.”

When asked how he is preparing to enter the real world, Mike explained, “I’ve been sending out my resume to potential employers in the city and suburbs, and so far I only have one interview lined up.  Cross your fingers I get it!”

Be prepared with an updated resume and cover letter!

Make sure to have an updated resume and cover letter that is prepared to be sent out and make sure to revise them for each application so they complement the job requirements and description.  Many Universities offer career services that help you create a unique resume and cover letter, and they will even assist in editing these documents!

Don't worry, this won't be you during your first interview!

Interview seminars may also be offered by your college, many of which conduct mock interviews to help you learn how to prepare for and execute the first nerve-wrecking interviews with potential employers.  Another way to prepare for graduation is to attend the job fairs that may be held at your school and in the Chicago area.  It’s a great opportunity to show off your networking skills and see what jobs are available so you can determine what type of company or organization that you’re interested in working for.

“I never thought I would be saying this after 16 years of school, but I’m going to grad school.  I think it’s the smartest move for me right now,”

explained Josie, an English major from Loyola University Chicago.   “The job market is growing, but I’m still sure that getting a job won’t be easy.  I figure, why not stay in school and get my Master’s Degree?  What’s two more years of school anyway?”

If you are like Josie and would like to pursue another degree, be sure to check out grad school fairs both at your university and in the Chicago area, ask your professors about programs they recommend and conduct your own online research to find programs that interest you and will help you transition into a career after completing graduate school.

Although undergraduates are excited to receive their diplomas and start their professional careers, entering the work force can be intimidating and unpredictable.  Chicago College Life understands the insecurities associated with change and that is why we created a check list for how to prepare yourself for the transition from college student to young professional or graduate student.

What's your next move?

Take advantage of the career resources offered by your university and don’t hesitate to explore all of your options post graduation!  Ready or not Chicago, here come a new group of young professionals!



Being a Parent in College: Rubi’s Story

3 Nov

This week Megan of Chicago College Life, interviewed a young woman named Rubi who is a Chicago college mom currently pursuing a degree in business administration. Rubi sat down with me and explained how she deals with juggling school, work, and family life; She also gave advice for other college parents. With reality shows such as Teen Mom on MTV, we have been able to get a glimpse of what life is like for both high school parents as well as college parents. There have been several seasons that have followed the stories of four young women and their transitions from high school to college as parents. We have seen their struggles; however, the cameras are not always rolling so we can’t really know what their life is like. Since our blog is focused on college life in the city, what better way to find out about this topic than asking a Chicago college student herself?

Megan: Did you have your son in mind when you chose business administration as your major?

Rubi: Yes. I chose business because I want to continue to work in the administrative field. The common Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 work week with weekends off, are beneficial for me as a parent. It allows me enough time in the evenings and weekends to go to school and get things done around the house on a steady schedule. I also chose business administration because it will help me advance in the job that I have now. A business degree is needed in a wide variety of fields which provides a wider range of opportunities.

Rubi & Her Son Joey

M: College is so time consuming. How do you balance your time between school, work, and taking care of your son?

R: You need to schedule your time wisely.  Make sure you have back ups in case of emergencies. Be very aware of your time and how you spend it.  Try to be organized as well.

M: Are there any resources at your college for parents? (i.e. daycare)

R: There was a daycare center in one of the schools I attended, which I think is a great idea. However, I did not have enough time to pick my son up from school, then drive to my school and get to class on time, so I was not able to utilize it. Instead, I had to rely on my family and babysitters to watch my son while I went to class.

M: Since you’ve been in college have you been forced to give up anything? Also, what are good strategies parents can do to work on their homework when they do not have a babysitter?

R: Yes. I had to give up time for myself. To get your homework done or study, use all of your available time like when your child is napping. I also have my son do his homework at the same time as me so we can both get our work done. If your child is older, you can also ask them to quiz you on your information. You can bond with them as well as get your work done.

M: Do you think colleges are flexible enough with their schedule of class times?

R: Yes. Most colleges offer online classes as well as evening and weekend classes. Since I work full time, I don’t have the time to go to school during the day so this is very beneficial for me.

M: If someone takes a leave of absence from school, do you think it is likely they will go back or would you not recommend taking a break?

R: I don’t recommend it, but it also depends on your situation and level of support. I have actually taken a break myself and returned to school. I am on a break now and I am finding it hard to go back so I wouldn’t suggest taking a break unless you really have to. Your education is very important to your future, and you have to find a way to prioritize to make sure you finish.

M: Do you think it is a good idea to wait until your child is older to go to college?

R: No, start as soon as possible the younger they are, the easier it is to get your work done. When they are older they require more of your time and attention where as when they are babies they sleep a lot. When they’re babies they’re not really aware of the amount of time they share with you.

M: What advice would you give to other college moms?

R: It takes a lot of discipline in order to stay on track. I would advise college parents to establish a support system. In other words, make sure you have a couple back ups when it comes to your baby-sitters. For example, if your primary sitter is not able to watch your child on the night of an important exam, you want to be sure that you have someone else you can count on just in case.  Missing an exam can greatly affect your final grade. Also, make sure to stay on schedule.  Try to plan things out ahead of time that way it’s easier to stay focused on what you’re doing right now. I like to use my calendar reminders on my phone often, otherwise I’ll forget just about anything. And very importantly, don’t get discouraged if it takes you double the years to get your degree. Time goes so fast and before you know it, you’re already there.

I want to thank Rubi for her time and valuable advice. This is a topic we have not yet covered in our blog and I felt this was an important issue that needed to be addressed so that all of our readers can benefit from our blog. There are many college parents out there who get discouraged and often give up on their education. College parents need support; they cannot do it on their own. I hope that this post gave you some insight into the life of a college parent and provided college parents with some useful advice that will not only motivate you, but help you to figure out a plan of action to succeed.

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