I’ve recently found myself looking at the city of Chicago in awe. Where would I be in my life without this wonderful windy city? While I had my doubts on DePaul University during my fall quarter as a freshman, I cannot express how greatly my opinions have changed. I’ve tried to imagine going to another university like Ohio State or University of Illinois and I simply cannot understand the appeal! City schools have so much more to offer than many large universities that are centered basically in the middle of no where. Many students are drawn to big campus universities but I believe that the next wave of college students should consider looking into city schools.
Reason one. Networking.
Yes–everywhere you are there is a chance to network but everyone knows that it is easier (and more expedient) to network where the business is taking place. And where does the business take place? A no-brainer here. THE CITY! As a Public Relations major and aspiring agency executive, the city has been a center of elevator pitches. Chicago has some of the largest PR firms in the country and the CEO’s are walking the streets (or hitting the bars) just like me. Going to school in the city allows for easier access to the people that students want to talk to. You can’t grab coffee with a potential employer in a cornfield.
Reason two. Independence.
While independence will come from any college experience, once you go to school in the city that independence shoots through the roof. Choosing to go to school in Chicago basically forced me to think for myself and start my journey into adulthood even though I moved when I was only 17. After my acceptance to DePaul, I made plans to move to Chicago from Maryland (mind you, I lived on a farm) that summer. I stayed with my Uncle and worked with Chicago’s First Lady assisting with customer service and then on move-in day I hit the conventional dorms. While many large universities allow for students to stay on campus all four years, DePaul does not have enough housing for such accommodations and so a few weeks into my winter quarter I was already looking at apartments. I have signed (technically co-signed because I have no credit) a lease to an apartment with my best friend and I am sincerely looking forward to a great summer on Lake Michigan! Living in the city pushes a student out of the comfort zone at times but it helps foster a sense of independence like no other.
Reason three. The Foursquare Jackpot.
Even if you are not into Foursquare (even though it is trending off the charts), there are so many places to visit in a city that it is impossible to experience them all. As a college student, some of my most memorable days are spent trying out new hidden restaurants or looking at small boutiques. There is such an abundance of things to do and try that there is no reason to revert to the classic frat parties (or, as we had on the farm, field parties) every night. The night scene in any city should be a major draw to any student.
Reason four. Better Job Opportunities.
For the most part, trying to find an off-campus part-time job is going to be a challenge where ever a student is going to college because of the economy. However, the city provides a much larger network of retail, food, and tourism jobs to tap into than a suburban or rural area would. Currently I work at Forever 21 (more on that later…) as a part-timer in desperate need of cash. Do I love it? Not necessarily. Would I rather work in a bean field? No. (maybe that was an exaggeration…No one works it bean fields anymore) The point is that the city has numerous jobs that are close and would love some cheap college labor.
I could go on and on about the city and all of it’s fantastic resources for college students but I think you get the point. College is all about experiences. If I have learned anything at all from living in Chicago, it is that one can find energy anywhere. Michigan Ave, the CTA, Midway, the running path along the Lake, those crazy people that dance on NBC Dance Party Friday (aka me), the tourists that are inevitably in the way–everything in the city is energy. And that is why I love the city so much. It never sleeps.