The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

How to escape the DePaul bubble


One of the reasons students enjoy attending DePaul is the opportunity to be involved in so many activities, clubs and events that happen on campus each day. The university has established such a tight-knit community for many students that it’s hard for some to imagine that things happen beyond the Jackson and Fullerton ‘L’ stops, but they do. DePaul prides itself on the fact that Chicago is its campus, so it’s important to break out of the “DePaul bubble” every once in a while.

“I did have some difficulty getting out of my DePaul bubble because it’s easy and safe to stay there,” DePaul junior Damian Wille said. “I needed to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and take initiative. I believe that the only thing stopping anyone from getting out of their DePaul bubble is their own perception of what might go wrong if they did. I had to get over that self-made perception and in the end I think I was rewarded for that.”

Overcoming the obstacle of leaving the comfort and security of the DePaul bubble can lead to an overall better college experience, as students are able to enrich themselves by learning from things outside of DePaul’s campus.

“College is an extraordinarily transformative time for most students,” DePaul senior Janelle Domek said. “Not only should we be learning as much as we can academically, but also personally.”

“Figuring out what interests you outside of school and in the larger context of the city opens so many doors and opportunities that will affect the decisions you make for the rest of your life,” Domek said.

For Domek, one of the ways she has become involved outside of DePaul is by volunteering at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“When I discovered the opportunity to volunteer at the Art Institute, I was at a point where I felt very bogged down by school and work and I was looking for something that I could do for myself,” Domek said.

One of the easiest ways to leave the DePaul bubble is by living in a neighborhood outside of Lincoln Park or the Loop, and for some students it is mandatory due to the high costs associated with living in the two neighborhoods that the University is located in.

“I simply couldn’t afford Lincoln Park anymore,” DePaul senior Brooke Griggs said. “Going from paying almost $1100 a month to $400 really allows me to spend more money on exploring the neighborhood I live in now.”

Some students find that where they live within the city dictates their emergence from the bubble, as living in neighborhoods further from campus could encourage students to go out and explore neighborhoods beyond Lincoln Park and the Loop, including Griggs , who lives in Rogers Park.

“Because the streets are way less busy in Rogers Park, I finally feel comfortable riding my bike around,” Griggs said. “I also am much more likely to support local business because there are so many more here. I am also more likely to eat authentic food because I’m so close to diverse areas like Little Vietnam.”

Other students argue that it doesn’t matter if students live on or off campus, they should still be able to get out and explore the city.

“I don’t think that where I live in the city really dictates what I am willing and able to be involved in,” Wille said. “I think DePaul does a great job of emphasizing that the entire city is ours to use and we don’t need to limit our activities to the places we live near.”

It’s made easier to get out of the DePaul bubble through the public transportation system that Chicago offers, with city buses and the ‘L’ being able to take students anywhere within Chicago, and nearby suburbs, that they would want to go.

“Having a Ventra pass really helps with getting around as we can access nearly every inch of the city if we wanted to,” Wille said.

Most students agree that overall, it doesn’t matter where you go to break out of the DePaul bubble, it’s just important that you do.

“Once the idea is there, it’s not too difficult to break free of the DePaul bubble,” Domek said. “It’s like going to the gym — the hardest part is showing up.”

Ways to get involved:

Volunteering — Like Domek, who takes time to volunteer at the Art Institute, volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to get out in the city. No matter what your interest is, there is more than likely a volunteering opportunity located somewhere in the city for you to immerse yourself in, and volunteering oneself can lead to opportunities in neighborhoods you didn’t even know existed.

Attending events — Have a comedian or band you really love? Chances are, they’ll play Chicago sometime. When that happens, make sure to see them in any of the historic and interesting venues located in numerous neighborhoods throughout the city. Even if your favorite performer isn’t coming to town, check out fun events happening throughout the city at Chicago’s venues big and small to get more involved in the culture of the city.

Trying new food — Chicago is home to multiple ethnic neighborhoods, from Ukrainian Village to Pilsen, with their own takes on delicious ethnic food. By exploring different neighborhoods, DePaul students can come into contact with people from a wide variety of cultures who make  delicious food beyond the areas adjacent to campus and the student center cafeteria.

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