How I chose DePaul

It’s funny that I ended up at DePaul because I always said that I never wanted to go to school in Chicago. I always thought that it was too cold and too dangerous. Sure, it’s cold, so what. Because I actually feel safer at DePaul than I do when visiting my other friend’s campuses. Their parents say things to mine like, “I can’t believe that you’d let her go to Chicago, it’s so unsafe.” And how they “could never let their kid go so far away for school.” To that, I say, whenever I hear from a friend about someone getting mugged at night near campus, it’s not happening at DePaul. It’s happening at these “safer” schools in actual dangerous neighborhoods in other states. And as for going far away, let your kid spread their wings and experience the world for themselves. You grow so much more when you are away from everything you know, and I would recommend going out of state to a new place to anyone who has the opportunity to do so. 

I always knew that I wanted to go out of state for school. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to go see different parts of the world, and foreign experiences always fascinated me and made me yearn to see more of what the world has to offer. So, when looking at schools, I applied to two schools in-state (Ohio) just in case, really to ease my dad’s worries of me going far away. But ever since I was in middle school, I was always dead set on going to college in the south but when it came down to it, that’s not where I belonged. 

Freshman Gracie admiring the city 

I came across DePaul through a mail ad from the school with a list of the majors they provided. It’s funny because people always say that’s junk mail. That mail literally derailed my entire life goal of moving to the south and never owning another winter coat. Like I said before, I never wanted to go to school in Chicago. My dad brought up the idea of me visiting colleges here and how he thought I would like it, but I always disregarded it. I was supposed to go to college in the south, that was my plan! But plans don’t always work out how you thought they would, and in my case that was for the best. 

I had no clue what I wanted to major in, but I had gotten a piece of advice from a coworker who was in college at the time that I should look at a list of possible majors and cross out everything that I don’t want to do. I’m pretty picky, so a lot of lines covered that list. I narrowed it down to a career in the entertainment industry. I secretly knew that was always something I wanted to be a part of, but I never thought I could go to college and achieve it. I love having a direct positive impact on people, and things in the entertainment industry always did that for me, so it was perfect. I found my life’s calling, I’m gonna write someone’s favorite movie one day! 

In my explore class, comfortable for the first time in a classroom setting

I was comfortable at DePaul walking around campus. Everyone was unique and came as they are, and you could see that the second you step foot on campus. You can literally be whoever you want to be in Chicago and in turn at DePaul, and that excited me. I always felt like I lived in the shadow of what was the norm back home. You’re not supposed to feel that way, and I never have once at DePaul. I joined a sorority at DePaul, no way I would have done that in the south. That is a strong culture there, but it intimated me too much to even see myself as a part of it. Here, I feel like I can try anything, and no one will judge me for it. 

After visiting DePaul for the first time, I was so beyond excited to go to college. I secretly knew that I was going to go there, but I went back and forth weighing my options because I had my heart set on somewhere else for so long. But the energizing feeling I felt from DePaul was like no other. I got back from DePaul just in time for the Spring Fling dance at school. I was so energetic and happy there, very unlike my typical high school self. I had so much fun because my mind was somewhere else the entire time. My mind was at DePaul, where I knew I could be myself, where art is appreciated and celebrated, where I can feel like I am truly living. Waking up in the city and knowing that one day I could be a local there was so cool. The way people just live their lives free of judgment was so incredible for me, as a person always so shut down by the idea of what other people think of me. At DePaul, I knew I didn’t have to care and that is the most freeing thing I could ever experience. 

My amazing mom supporting me at my club soccer game 

If I learned anything from my college search process, it’s that it is okay to go against your original plan. Keep an open mind and remember that anything is possible, including the things you swore you’d never do. I couldn’t be happier any place else, and looking back, I wish I had a place for my first 18 years even just a smidge like DePaul. A place where I could have felt comfortable, embraced, and celebrated for being my unique self. Individuality thrives at DePaul, and I am so grateful I am not in a place that wants you to conform to who they want you to be. DePaul, the community, the professors, the environment, the students, everything about it has allowed me to be more me than I ever have before, and I could never be more grateful for my parents and my gut instinct telling me this is where I belong. 

~ Gracie

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