I Dare you to just try

I Dare You To Just Try.

By OSI Blogger: Jacki Licciardi

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about how truly unpredictable life can be, no matter how much we try and plan things. I bet you are thinking, of course life is unpredictable, duh… but this fact of life has never stopped me from planning for my future. This made me think about how many things I have had planned out for this year and how many of those things actually took place! I mean, I don’t think that planning is wasteful because I would be really lost without planning. Now really think about it. How many ideas or desires did you dream up for yourself last year (or at all), and how many of those things have happened just the way you planned or thought? If you are anything like me- none of them happened just as planned. But, here’s the thing, maybe none of them happened just how I planned because they happened in the way they should have happened.

I’ll give you an example. As a graduate student at DePaul studying counseling, I am required to complete 700 clinical hours- yeah, 700 – it’s a lot. Last year I was working as an Academic Advisor and had been for 4 years. How in the world would I complete 700 additional hours in three quarters when I was already working 40 hours each week? Craziness, I know. So…I made a plan (of course) and I found a part-time job and a part-time internship to make sure I could complete these hours and still pay my bills. The plan was to stay at both of these positions until June 2015 – until I graduate and land my dream job, good plan…right? Well, this is not how things worked out. I found my dream job now, as in literally starting in three weeks. Looking back, I was so worried that I would not find a full-time position in time for graduation or that I would not complete my hours in time. Maybe the plan didn’t work out just as I planned but it worked out. I was afraid and anxious about leaving my then full time position but it turned out great. I really believe that the things we are most afraid to try are the same things that turn out great! Chance is good. Change is good.

I don’t know about you but I do not know anyone who has been successful in life because they never took a chance or never changed in the process.

I was at a conference in New Orleans over the weekend (NASPA: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and the opening featured speaker was Dr. Jennifer Arnold- who can I just say was Aaamazing and very inspirational. I want to share one of the quotes she shared during her presentation by hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” This really stuck with me.

So my point is that you have to try to succeed otherwise you’ll never know. Maybe the outcome won’t be the way you planned or maybe you will fail but either way you would have taken the shot. Failing isn’t the worst thing that could happen because this can lead you down a new path. So maybe you are starting a new job, a new quarter of classes, or just need to repair a relationship in your life…whatever it might be, just start by trying.

Don’t be afraid to be amazing!

…Don’t miss next weeks “goodbye” blog by Jacki Licciardi— stay tuned.

Flowers in a planter in the center of Michigan Ave

Spring Break Has Begun, Now What To Do?

By Blogger: Jacki Licciardi

Spring break is finally here…hallelujah!

Now all we need is the weather to realize that spring is here and we will be all set. I mean really though, the first day of spring was this past Friday. I don’t know about you but I recall wearing a scarf and boots to class. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of fall and winter style but I am more than ready to move on. Oh and did you see all this snow today? Not cool, Mother Nature. Not cool.

Turning in my final literature review during finals week, felt similar to that feeling I get when I am running late and there is no line at Starbucks. Thank you!

With finals over and spring break underway – I finally have time to do whatever I want, right? Well, kind of. I plan to use this brief time off from class to catch up on some much needed me time. I have realized that a large portion of my days are consumed with tending to others (I do enjoy helping others, after all I am studying counseling). But if I don’t take care of myself who will? So I plan to use this week-ish to do things that help me feel “fresh” – fresh means literally feeling refreshed. Kind of like that feeling after you take a good afternoon nap. I usually feel great, similar to what I imagine a child feels like after they nap and need a good 10-20 minutes before anyone talks to them.

So some of the things I plan to do during spring break include finishing the book Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, workout (discovering the workout playlists on Spotify has changed my life- check em out), take a few naps, spend the weekend in New Orleans, paint my nails orange or yellow, and final celebrate my birthday!

My list of things to do may seem lame-with the exception of New Orleans- but what’s most important is that it’s my list. So I encourage you to make a list of your own. At least do one thing each day during break that is just for you! Whether you are going on vacation or staying around campus; doing one thing per day is more than manageable. Like taking a nap really won’t be that difficult ;)

Hopefully the weather gods (whoever they are) will figure out it’s springtime and bring us some beautiful weather during break. Just remember to enjoy yourself because you earned it after a long week of finals.

HappySpringBreak

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Cardio Isn’t The Only Way To Get In Shape.

By Guest Blogger: Megan Bogolia

Losing weight seems to be a popular topic in today’s news. Everywhere I look I see magazine covers that rave about a celebrity’s dieting secrets and the top tips on how to get a flat belly. Many women have developed eating disorders because of body image issues that arise from what the media portrays as the “ideal body.” Dieting has become an obsession as people strive for an impossible standard. This is not a healthy way to live.

I personally believe people should stop worrying about their size and start focusing on their health.

Health and fitness became a big part of my life about a year ago. It started after I got a job at the gym for my local park district. I had always been into working out, ever since middle school, I went to the gym on a regular basis. This was partly because I enjoyed it and partly because of my own self image issues. The majority of my workout was intense cardio, aimed at burning as many calories as possible. This of course, never yielded the results I wanted.

However, while working out with one of my coworkers from the gym, he introduced me to the idea of weight lifting and body weight exercises. At first I was hesitant because I did not want to become an overly muscular and unattractive girl. But with his insistence, I gave it a shot; and I fell in love. If you are trying to change your life and get in shape, here are my suggestions.

First of all, balancing your work outs with strength training is very important.

Strength training has changed my life and my approach to fitness. I have seen significant changes in my body, for example, I have more energy, more confidence, and I just feel better about myself. As it turns out having muscle does not look bad on women. I have never been happier with my body and I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I highly recommend adding a weight lifting routine into your workout. Focusing on building muscle rather than losing weight is much more effective. Not only will your body look better, but building muscle will actually help you burn calories while you’re not working out. Not to mention that being stronger gives you more confidence in yourself.

While I believe strength training is very important, that doesn’t mean you should forget about cardio. Another thing I have fallen in love with in regards to fitness is kick boxing. Kick boxing is an empowering workout that I would highly recommend. It is a great stress relief and a fun way to get your cardio workout in. I am completely addicted and am currently looking for an affordable place near Lincoln Park. If you are tired of running on a treadmill, staring at the same wall, kickboxing could be a great cardio alternative for you.

After starting school at DePaul University, I also started taking cycling classes. I didn’t think I would enjoy sitting on a bike for an hour but as it turns out I actually really like it. There are some great instructors at DePaul and the classes are anything but boring. The lighting, music and energy is very motivating and I always get an amazing workout.

My biggest recommendation if you are trying to get in shape is to find someone who will do it with you.

Having someone else to motivate you is very effective and will help you stay on track. I met a girl at my job who became my workout partner and she has become one of my best friends. Working out with her makes the experience all the more enjoyable and watching her push herself inspires me to work even harder. Having someone by your side while trying to keep up a healthy lifestyle is one of the most helpful things you can do to stay focused.

Eating right and staying fit are the two keys to being healthy. I try to avoid processed foods whenever possible and I rarely eat fast food. Eating a lot of protein is also important for a healthy diet. If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle I strongly encourage you to set a goal for yourself.

You don’t have to wait for the New Year to set a resolution. You can start to make a change in your life at any moment. It’s never too late to change your life style. Stay motivated and be patient because healthy results take time. Don’t expect to see big changes immediately. As I said before, I’ve been working to improve my health and fitness for a year now and it took time before I started seeing a difference. But when you finally get there, there is no better feeling.

… Megan Bogolia is currently a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE team and is a freshman at DePaul University. Megan also is a volunteer for Hoops for Hopes which, is an organization at DePaul that travels to the Kelly YMCA in Humboldt Park, Chicago to work with children in their after school program. Megan tutor children, ages 6 to 14 in Math, Science and/or English!

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What Games You Should Be Playing Today!

By Guest Blogger: Spencer Albin

One of the best benefits of attending a college larger than the high school system that you attended is that there are a lot more people with interests that are similar to your own as well as a lot of people that are experienced with things that you are a novice to. This allows you to both reinforce existing interests and branch out to learn about and explore new interests!

There are many organizations at DePaul to help facilitate this process. This is also a great way to meet new people and potential friends, which is the primary objective for many people during their first year at college, including me. Already well into the winter quarter, I am happy with the friends I’ve managed to make so far. I was fortunate enough to become friends with my roommate, Cole. Through him I was able to meet several other people including another one of my good friends, Scott. I also met many people through my classes, which is nice because it allows me to say hi to them in passing. I’ve also made friends through my classes, though almost exclusively through classes for my major, Computer Game Development.

There must be something about the people in these courses that separates them from the majority of people in the other classes. It doesn’t take long to figure that out; we all have a passion for games and everything to do with them. Games are something that multiple people can experience separately and instantly relate with each other. They provide a lot of content to talk about with other people. Even sharing the games you like and dislike allows a glimpse at your personality. Gaming is an inherently social activity, therefore I believe they are the best method through which to get to know people and become friends with people (and also have a lot of fun by doing so).

I think that there are a lot of people that still characterize the ‘gamer’ as belonging to the societal fringe; a person that has no friends and sits alone in a room…most of the time. I would like to say that even among the hardcore section of gamers, there is an incredible variety of people that are as social as they are diverse. Everyone can be a gamer in their own right. You just have to play games! Speaking of, there is tremendous variety when it comes to games and they are not limited to digital devices; there is a huge tabletop game market nowadays, ranging from simple card or dice games all the way to full scale role-playing games.

Not sure where to find a game that would interest you or how a game plays? Consult the Internet. You should be able to find a number of games that are fun and suit you. Now get some people to play with!

I mentioned before that playing a game gives you an experience that you can relate with someone through. In some form or another, playing games, especially with other people, builds comradery. Playing games is a great way to spend a night during the weekend and is often overlooked by people that typically do other things. Scott and I recently spent a Friday night playing a notoriously difficult platformer called Spelunky together. The amount of entertainment we got out of the experience both brought us together and gave us a great start to the weekend. I could go on about other games that I have spent hours playing with other people, but I think you understand how games can be great to make friends through.

DePaul has a large community of gamers, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the largest student organization on campus is DeFRAG (Check em out: http://defrag.depaul.edu/ ). The DeFRAG meetings are a perfect place to meet people and learn to play new games at the same time. It is open to everyone, even if you’ve never played any games before. Plenty of people would be willing to teach new games to you and help you out while you play them. If you haven’t played many games before I suggest going to at least one of these meetings or to someone you know to play a game, any game. You might find that you have been missing out on a completely unique experience.

The two main points I am trying to make with this blog are… First, to offer people a way to meet new friends and have fun. Second, to encourage people that don’t consider themselves to be gamers to branch out and play a few games. Both gaming and starting your college career are things that start out uncertain and rough. However, after some time has passed and you receive guidance, it evens out and becomes easier to do and to enjoy. With that I will leave you with some table games that run the gambit of complexity but are definitely fun. It is by no means a comprehensive list of awesome games, but it is a list of games that I like. Maybe you’ll find one to your liking!

 Tabletop Games that I’m sure you’ll like!

  • Left-Center-Right – A simple one die gambling game where one lucky winner takes the pot.
  • Cards Against Humanity – Think Apples to Apples, but dirtier. For those that aren’t familiar with Apples to Apples, it is a game where players alternate drawing prompt cards and choosing the card that best matches it. The other players submit the other cards.
  • Fluxx – A card game with a simple premise: draw one card and play one card per turn, meet the goal to win. However, there are cards that change the rules and steal victory from the other players. Available in many themes.
  • Munchkin – Munchkin is a sort of role-playing lite game that primarily uses cards and does away with much of the complexity and time typically needed for RPGs. It is really fun once you get the hang of the basic rules. Loot the room and stab your friends in the back! (Also has a large variety of themes.)
  • RISK – You can take over the world, enough said. More seriously, RISK is a classic strategy game that I like to play a lot (because I win most of the time).
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill – A B-rated horror movie in a box! If you like the kind of horror movies that take place in creepy old houses, you’ll probably like this! It is another RPG lite and is one of the most unique games I have played. It has fifty different possible haunts!
  • Settlers of Catan – A strategic trade and economy game set on the island of Catan. This one can be a bit more complex for new players, but like any game is more fun once you’ve played it a few times. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for premature terminations of friendships due to playing this game!

…Spencer Albin is a freshman at DePaul studying Computer Game Development. Spencer is also a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE Team!

homesick

What To Do If You’re Feeling Home Sick.

By Guest Blogger: Alden Claire Knight

Something I’ve noticed at DePaul is that I always get mixed reactions when I tell people where I’m from. Generally, the consensus seems to be that people react with mild surprise. Others react loudly. Some don’t care. I mentioned previously that I was from North Carolina. I also mentioned that I disliked it.

North Carolina isn’t the most shocking place to come from. I’m picking up on the “what-an-anticlimactic-place-to-live” vibes I’m sure you’re experiencing right now.

Something you need to note: North Carolina is pretty far away. 2 and a half hours by plane; 12 and a half hours by car; 76 hours by bike; 249 hours by foot (not that I’d ever do the latter two). I can’t take the next Metra ride home or pack my overnight bag into my mom’s car. What I’m getting at here is this: when I’m homesick, it’s pretty tough.

No, I’m not saying I regret my decision to come to Chicago. In fact, I’ve frequently thought about what a great fit it is. But everyone longs for home sometimes. You can’t deny that sometimes you just want to snuggle up on your couch (in my case, with my dog) and watch your favorite movie. You wouldn’t decline the opportunity to get pampered by your mom or veg out with some high school friends. Maybe even visit your favorite childhood park or walk that trail behind your house that you loved when you were little.

I’ve recently discovered that what seems like well over half of the student population at DePaul are from the suburbs (or aptly, “the ‘burbs”). When asked on the first day of class where they’re from, classmates of mine will usually name a suburb and then either mention its distance from the city or its directional location in the state. Most in-staters nod in agreement, mentally adding another suburb to what seems like a never-ending suburban list. Nearly all of the friends I’ve made go home most weekends. This stifling tidbit of information hadn’t even crossed my mind until a friend of mine approached me a couple of weeks ago asking if I had gotten homesick at all this quarter. The reason she asked was because I was the only other person she knew who had come to DePaul from a state farther than five “driving hours” away.

Truthfully, my longing for home was far more difficult this quarter than last. I found myself feeling lonelier than ever when I came back from winter break and I noted that my calls home had practically doubled. It could’ve been a seasonal thing, or really just an “adjustment to college” thing, but I think it was my recognition that almost everyone I know here has the capability to go home whenever they feel like it. Friends of mine will mention how excited they are to go home for dinner and get a home cooked meal, or they’ll express their need for a haircut from their hairdresser whose known them for eight years. I realized then that I was jealous. Jealous because if I need a haircut, I have to go find someone I’ve never met. Or if I want a home cooked meal, I’d have to find a restaurant that specialized in that kind of thing. Of course, it’s not my friends’ fault in the end. They can’t control where they’re from. If you had the option of going home whenever you felt like it, who could blame you.

I realize looking back on this now, homesickness comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I want to spontaneously purchase a plane ticket and take the next flight home, but other times I’m super happy that I’m not in North Carolina anymore. It’s totally normal to feel this way, especially when you’re really far from home base.

During a rough patch when my longing for home was nearly unbearable, I made a list of things I could do to make myself feel better. I’ve tested some of these tricks, and most of them seem to work. Recently, for example, my mom and I have been watching our favorite shows together while simultaneously reacting via phone call.

Another item on the list included getting out of the dorm and seeing friends to take your mind off things. If friends aren’t available, take a walk around Lincoln Park (dependent on weather). We’re fortunate to be in a really beautiful part of Chicago. Exercising helps for some, and I know looking at old photos can bring back some great nostalgic memories. Compiling a care package for a loved one or friend from back home helped me a lot as well (I know I’m not the world’s best “feel good guru”, but these things worked for me).

My favorite, though, was to make a playlist of songs to unwind with. I’ve included one that I put together at the end of this post for you DePaulians who might be going through the same thing. Just remember, being homesick is totally normal. It’s going to get better. Enjoy…

Chicken Soup for the Homesick Soul (2)

Chicken Soup for the Homesick Soul:

Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone

Hero – Family of the Year

Piledriver waltz – Alex Turner

Seaside – The Kooks

The Commuter – Jeremy Messersmith

April Come She Will – Simon & Garfunkel

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths

Take Care – Beach House

Blue Skies – Albert Hammond, Jr.

17 – Youth Lagoon

…Alden Claire Knight is currently an undeclared Communication major however, intends to pursue a degree in Communication and Media Studies field with a concentration in Radio, Television and New Media! Alden also enjoys any film by Wes Anderson, with her favorite being Moonrise Kingdom!

BDW2015GeneralDates2

Once a Blue Demon, Always a Blue Demon. Blue Demon Week 2015!

By: OSI Blogger Jacki Licciardi

It’s that time again… Blue Demon Week at DePaul University. The activities and DePaul pride is present all around campus, from the decorations in the café, to the blue attire students, staff, and faculty are wearing! I personally am very excited for all the events this week and food, yes, food!

If you have seen any of my other blog posts then I am sure you already know that I work as the Program Assistant for Social Media and Leadership Development in the Office of Student Involvement and of course that I am a graduate student here at DePaul. I bring this up because I did not complete my undergraduate degree at DePaul, so I was not familiar with all the amazing events that DePaul has for their students. Understanding or knowing about the Involvement Fairs, or DemonTHON, or Blue Demon Week were things I didn’t just “know.” These were events that were new to me as a graduate student here at DePaul.

Some of you may be very familiar with what Blue Demon Week is at DePaul but for me this is my first year being a part of this week long celebration. So what is Blue Demon Week? It’s simple; Blue Demon Week is a time that students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together to celebrate what it means to be a DePaul Blue Demon and be DePaul Proud! The whole week is packed with activities and events that bring everyone together to celebrate our community and cheer on our Men and Women Basketball teams! #GoBlueDemons

Another big part of Blue Demon Week is wearing BLUE on Thursdays to show our Blue Demon pride. I say wear blue all week… I already started wearing blue today. I have to tell you that I might have found a new color I like to wear.

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Yesterday was the first day of Blue Demon Week and we spent some time decorating the café in Lincoln Park. It was a great experience to be a part of because students and staff came together and took some time out to spread some red and blue cheer around campus!

The best part of Blue Demon Week is that everyone can participate…everyone! Even if you just wear blue on Thursday you will be part of something bigger. I am particularly excited for this Friday’s Blue Demon Dance at the Hard Rock Café. I hope to see you there. Once a Blue Demon, Always a Blue Demon. #BDW2015

Check out a full list of events at the official Blue Demon Site:DePaul Blue Demon Week

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Dancing to Help The Kids: For All The Right Reasons.

By OSI Blogger: Lindsay Ritenbaugh

In April 2014, I completed my first Dance Marathon—and the third ever DemonTHON at DePaul. 428 registered dancers, 34 directors and assistants, 26 Morale captains, the overall advisor, and I stood 24+ hours For The Kids at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. These incredible students raised $214,050.46 this year, more than $468,000 to date, and have become the 17th most successful Dance Marathon in the nation! But more than that, they’ve raised awareness For The Kids and families with pediatric illnesses in the Chicagoland area. They did so with their opening video (which conveniently showcases the beautiful city in which I live). They did so with each Morale dance at the top of every hour. They did so with every event held on campus and throughout the Chicagoland area throughout the year. They did so through successful social media efforts before and during the Big Event.

I came to DePaul to work as a Program Coordinator for Student Organizations, expecting to supervise student employees in the office and maybe advise a student group. I had no idea how much the latter would impact my life and DePaul experience. During my first month on the job, I reached out to Edwin, the current DemonTHON advisor and offered my help if needed. I later met with Blair, the executive director, who asked if I’d be interested in advising the Morale team. The high school cheerleader/folk dancing camp counselor/karaoke extraordinaire in me was ecstatic. Throughout the year the advisors met weekly with Morale captains, their amazing director and assistants, the overall committee, and management core committee to prepare for this past weekend’s culminating events. Still, I completely underestimated what it would feel like to complete a dance marathon from start to finish. My feet were throbbing and tears (both happy and sad) fell on multiple occasions, but I would will do it all again in a second.

All of my dark hours, when I thought I couldn’t keep standing, paled in comparison to what the miracle children and their families face during treatment. I just thought of faces like sweet Mia Gurevitz and how DemonTHON serves them directly. Wouldn’t you keep standing if you saw this face?

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DemonTHON: I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them. And we help them in return (Wicked, 2004). Your ability to build campus affinity and fundraise For The Kids is a force to be reckoned with. And like St. Vincent de Paul reminds us, “There are two things to be considered here, namely, not only to do good, but to do it well.”

Fundraising for DemonTHON 2015 is continuing from today until the end of our Big Event on April 24-25, 2015! Every penny counts. Register or donate today!

If you’ve never experienced a reveal for a Dance Marathon, please watch this immediately: DemonTHON Reveal 2014

…Lindsay Ritenbaugh is the Program Coordinator for Student Organizations at DePaul University in the Office of Student Involvement. Among dancing and fundraising For The Kids, she enjoys watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and playing trivia!