January 27th, 2014 § § permalink
You’ve mastered survival of the polar vortex, you’re well on your way to producing a real live thesis proposal and awkward prom-date-style asking an adviser, and you’ve got a cheering squad of MAPH staff to support you as Winter Quarter kicks in.
That said, Winter Quarter can really SUCK. It’s dark, cold, and you’re being asked to do an INSANE amount of reading/papers/job stuff/general being human type things. While it’s easy to feel like you have time for absolutely nothing besides thesis and school, it is essential this quarter to stay healthy and balanced.
It can be incredibly helpful to talk to someone who is not also immersed in thesising. Looking for a way to get something off your chest, or not sure if it would be useful to talk to someone on a regular basis? Student Counseling offers a Let’s Talk program, which offers walk-in meetings with a counselor. Student Counseling also has resources for academic struggles like procrastination or developing speed-reading skills.
And as always, if you feel like you need to see another human, are looking for someone to complain with, or just want to say hi, come by the MAPH office anytime.
2. Cozy up! (But in a new place)
At this point in the year, leaving Hyde Park (or even leaving the library!) can feel like a mini-vacation. Last year I set myself the goal of getting out of Hyde Park once a week, even if it was just to study in a new place. And while it may sound silly, those trips to distant coffee shops felt INCREDIBLE. It was like I realized that there was a great big world out there that wasn’t all thinking about (and possibly criticizing) my academic work. Also, Chicago is full of awesome places – it’s so worth your time to go check them out.
Some quick recommendations from Keri for coffee (at this point last year, I was consuming on average 6 caffeinated beverages a day, so I was starting to get picky): The Bourgeouis Pig (tip: they have a limit on Wifi, so bring your reading), Filter or The Wormhole (nerdy!) in Wicker Park, and for those who can’t leave Hyde Park, Bridgeport Coffee has a location in the Hyde Park Art Center
3. Sunshine (from the indoors!)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, although I’m not totally sure if I have it. Regardless, staying inside all the time in the dark makes me sad, but there’s no way I’m getting outside for a jog when it’s -5 out. Luckily, there are ways to get sunshine (and a healthy dose of Mother Nature) while staying indoors:
-Garfield Park Conservatory - conveniently, MAPH is taking a trip to this lush and verdant (and free) place on 2/7
-Lincoln Park Conservatory – this slightly smaller conservatory is right next to the zoo (and is also free)
-and of course, the giant space dome / egg library that is Mansueto – less plants, more work, but very sunny regardless
4. Bring balance to the force (or to your own life)
You may have already discovered this, but it’s pretty much impossible to do all the reading for classes AND work on your thesis AND sleep AND be an actual human AND maintain friendships AND look for a job. And that is OKAY. It is more important to maintain your mental (and physical!) health than to finish all the readings. Do enough of your work to participate well in class, and then TAKE A BREAK.
While you’re at it, put a ban on guilt: set a (reasonable) to-do list, and once it’s done, allow yourself a guilt-free work-free break. Exercise, knit, spend time with friends, meditate, go to Tea & Pipes, watch TV, read a book that is actually not useful in any way toward your academic work, do whatever you need to in order to give your brain time off from school.
You got this.
July 24th, 2013 § § permalink
So you’ve rolled into Chicago (or you’re about to in the near future). You’re probably wondering, what do I do with all my time? Classes don’t start until mid-September, summer is at its finest (this 70 degree weather is MAGICAL), and you’re starting to explore the city—what’s next? Here’s a list of things that I wish I had done before starting my MAPH year.
10 Things You Really Rather Ought to Do Before Classes Start:
1. Get a CTA card. Unless you’ve devised a teleportation device, you will use transit. Often. Even if you have a bike. Even if you have a car. Parking downtown is a nightmare, and sometimes it just makes more sense to take the train (like if you say want to go to the bar and have more than one drink per hour). Got your card? Now hop on the 6 and head downtown! And don’t forget: the Metra Electric isn’t covered by your card, although it is very fast and sitting on the second floor of a train is always a delight.
2. Get a public library card. There are lots and lots of locations, and if you’re already exploring downtown Chicago, Harold Washington is right there on State Street. There may come a time when you haven’t purchased or borrowed a book for class in time, and the UChicago library will have no copies available, and you will need an alternate source. » Read the rest of this entry «
July 17th, 2013 § § permalink
Those of you who have already arrived in Chicago have probably noticed a preponderance of bikers. While there are plenty of other transportation methods available, many Chicagoans find that the easiest and fastest way to get around the city is on two wheels. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful while living here: » Read the rest of this entry «
July 14th, 2013 § § permalink
It’s summer. The weather is nice. And you have a few precious weeks of freedom left before the MAPHstorm arrives. If you’re in Hyde Park for the summer, this is a great time to explore the area and get your bearings, and to enjoy what is in my opinion one of Chicago’s most underrated little neighborhoods. With that in mind, here’s my vote for a perfect summer day in Hyde Park:
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August 27th, 2012 § § permalink
For those of you who have decamped to Hyde Park from parts far-flung, or for those of you soon to do so, or for those of you residing elsewhere in Chicago and wanting a green place near your new school in which to recreate, we present a trio of splendid parks in Hyde Park.
It’s huge and great. In fact, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Washington park is the biggest park of the “four Chicago Park District parks named after persons surnamed Washington.” It’s a good place to run, ride, walk dogs, play frisbee, and do other stuff. Some people fish in the pond. Washington Park is also home to the DuSable Museum of African American History (which is excellent) and a tremendous sculpture called “The Fountain of Time.”
» Read the rest of this entry «
June 7th, 2012 § § permalink
It is somehow always the case that one can have time or money but never both at the same time. So now that you do not have to read 1000 pages every week what are you going to do in Chicago that doesn’t cost much money? Well the lakefront, the parks and biking are all great options, but below are a few more you might have missed.
Museum free days
Most of the museums in Chicago have free or discounted days or offer student discounts
You can still use your Artspass, check the link for the discounts and partner institutions.
The Museum of Science and Industry is free for Illinois residents on June 7, 8, 11.
Field Museum check back here for discount days. They list them throughout the summer.
Adler Planetarium has discount days on June 7th and 8th perfect if your family is arriving early for convocation.
The Shedd Aquarium has Illinois resident discount days on June 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. If you bank with Bank of America you get discounts on July 7-8 and Aug. 4-5 by showing your bank card.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is $7 with your Student ID.
While you are in that neighborhood you could visit the City Gallery at the Water Tower which is always free.
The Chicago Cultural Center has free exhibits, concerts and gallery talks all year round.
Students get into the Art Institute of Chicago for $12 any day and the first and second Wednesday of every month are free for Illinois residents.
On Navy Pier there is actually a free Stained Glass Museum which has great works and is not as populated as the rest of the pier. You could stay for the free fireworks if you are braving a day on the tourist-y pier.
Also did you know that if you have a Chicago Public Library card you can check out museum passes from any branch? Just make sure you get to the library early. The passes go quickly. The library also has lectures, readings and performances so check their calendar.
Outdoor events after the jump . . .
» Read the rest of this entry «
September 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
The city motto is after all "urbus en horto" so make sure to find the best of this city in a garden.
So many of you who have not been working or living in a big city may find yourself missing nature trails and places to hike or walk or generally not see other people. While (alas) no mountains are ever going to be around Chicago there are a number of easy ways to get a bit of a nature fix right in the city. As a Western girl I have found many places to see a bit of nature in the city and have some recommendations after the jump.
» Read the rest of this entry «
November 10th, 2010 § § permalink
Hey there MAPHarinos!
The time has come. You must BUY WINTER CLOTHES. I know that the cold has been a little late coming this year, but that is why now is the time to act! Go get those greatcoats and earmuffs before it gets cold enough for hipsters to realize that their formfitting American Apparel sweatshirts and retro giant headphones are no longer cutting the mustard.
WHERE you go sort of depends on you. Do a search for the closest Sally Am, Village Thrift or Unique Thrift, check out the Brown Elephant in Andersonville, head up to Ragstock in Boy’s Town, or all the way to the Junior League Club in Evanston if you got a case a’ the ol’ upper-class aspirations and wanna try on some fancy people clothes, fresh off some fancy people.
WHAT you wear, on the other hand, isn’t so much up to you as it is an effect produced by the limitations of your body in relation to the changing environment. (I don’t mean what you wear on YOUR other hand, I’m being figurative.) Think of it as a kind of second-hand Darwinism. (Again, I don’t mean YOUR second hand, I’m making a pun on “second-hand” clothes (to which this version of Darwinism might be applied) and “second-hand Darwinism” itself, which is another way of saying that, strictly speaking, this is not Darwinism proper.) WHAT you wear is more of a nature-realizing-itself-through-the-illusion-of-your-particularity sort of thing, and having always seen myself as something of an “owl of Minerva” (given that I have trouble sleeping at night, and a weakness for strong, dark and intelligent type people, especially if they are named Minerva) I figure I’ll just go ahead and TELL you what nature is going to use your body to wear, regardless of WHO you are. (That was another pun, this type based on both the anti-individualism theme of this post and the owl reference (which, by the way, is a reference to Hegel (“The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk” (which means that we only know things after the fact (it is dusk now, by the way) because Minerva is the goddess of wisdom (for the ancient Greeks)))) the owl reference also linking back to Darwin inso far as I’m talking about clever animals (like the pugs in the photo (which also make a joke of Darwin in obvious ways (they are not naturally selected and are inherently unhealthy (and wearing coats)))).)
You need a coat! As big and warm as possible! Layers get DAMN annoying when you are going into an out of hot buildings all day.
You need BOOTS! It snows HUGE in these parts, and your feet will get wet, then freeze, and die, if you do not buy boots! Go to an army surplus store if you can, my canadian army boots are still going after two Montreal winters and a year in Chicago.
A HAT!!!!! WAAAAAARM!
Cool. Ok. That should do it.
August 2nd, 2010 § § permalink
Hey there, MAPHers,
I suspect that many of you are in various stages of planning, packing, or settling in to your places in Chicago. In the midst of the stressful and exhausting process of moving, here’s a fun fact to get you excited about your new home: for the past 22 years, a fairly stable population of feral monk parrots (also known as quaker parrots) has thrived in Hyde Park. Apparently, a number of these birds were shipped to the Chicago area from their native Argentina in the ’60s and ’70s to be sold as pets. By the late ’70s, small groups of the escaped parrots could be seen nesting in local parks and on telephone poles. Populations of wild monk parrots live in other regions of the U.S., but Hyde Park monk parrots are notable for their ability to weather the harsh Chicago winters. The birds do not migrate, but instead, hunker down in their nests which serve as permanent dwellings over the course of the birds’ lives. Those who study the birds (including University of Chicago Professor Stephen Pruett-Jones) have suggested that their survival through the winter months is due in large part to backyard bird feeders–in other words, the kindness of strangers. I learned all of this (and more fascinating monk parrot info–including the fact that monk parrots have 11 distinguishable vocalizations here.
I have to say, I had heard about these adept creatures before my move to Hyde Park, but as I have recently discovered, it is a whole different experience to stumble upon them “in the wild”. I came upon a rather large group of them yesterday while walking Sally, our MAPHscot (see earlier post!) at Florence Stout Park (55th and Greenwood). It was an overwhelming and altogether unique experience. This particular group of monks was obviously stirred up by the presence of the dog–they were incredibly vocal and active, flying ceaselessly from tree to tree and announcing our presence to the whole group. I hope that all of you will be pleasantly surprised by such an encounter at some point during the year.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for these guys as you trip around Hyde Park. And remember, if these guys can survive the winter, then so can we, gosh darnit!
March 17th, 2010 § § permalink
“Our nature is not self-sufficient for engaging in study: our body must be healthy and we must have food and generally be cared for“ (Nicomachean Ethics X 1178b 35).
It is that time of year again, time for 20 hour workdays, paper-writing stupors, and general stress all around. May I take this moment to implore you to please please please take some breaks? It is good for you, it will make you feel better, and it will even help you do a better job on your papers. Here are some fun ideas for short study breaks:
1) Grab a friend and go get a croissant and a cup of coffee at Bonjour Bakery, the Medici Bakery, Z and H, or some other bakery you like. Talk about things other than your papers. After 30 minutes, you will start to feel like a normal human being again.
2) Go for a walk. I saw some hyacinths coming up as I walked to campus this morning! Give yourself twenty minutes and explore your neighborhood. Walk down a street you’ve never been down before. Head out to the lake and see if all the crazy ice has melted. Just use your common sense and don’t go anywhere dangerous. It’s also best to bring a buddy late at night. (I am your mother.)
3) Cook yourself something. No, really. Cooking is creative, relaxing, and at the end you get to eat a healthful, home-cooked meal. Visit williams-sonoma.com, epicurious.com, cooksillustrated.com or any similar site for recipe ideas.
4) Exercise. Hit the gym, take a yoga class, go for a jog outside. Even a 15 minute jog in the fresh air can be revitalizing.
5) It may seem counterintuitive, but have a book on hand that you can read for pleasure. Sometimes, when you get into the study groove, it is difficult to take breaks that are completely non-academic. Taking a few minutes to read a chapter of an old favorite can be a welcome distraction. Books you enjoyed as a child or a young adult can be particularly good choices.
Good luck with everything! It’s just a few more days now! You can do it!