Category Archives: Practical Matters

All things useful and important.

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Campus Days 2016: What to Do if You Get Here Early!

Here at MAPHCentral, we are gearing up for Campus Days 2016 and are excited to meet everyone this weekend! You can find an outline of the schedule for Campus Days here and a more detailed schedule here.  

If you get to Chicago before Campus Days or have some time here afterwards, or if you are a current student hosting someone and want to point out things to do and see, below are some suggested spots and activities!

Within Hyde Park


Promontory Point

Although this weekend your focus will likely be on the University, Hyde Park as a whole has a lot to offer. To enjoy some time outside, we strongly recommend Promontory Point, the east end of 55th Street. Promontory Point provides one of the most beautiful views of the Chicago skyline and of Lake Michigan. If the weather is warm, we also recommend taking a stroll on the Lakeshore Path.

Hyde Park also has several bookstores worth browsing. We have the Seminary Co-op (which is also next to one of our favorite coffee shops, Plein Air Cafe), and its sister store, 57th Street Books. On 55th is an excellent selection of used books at Powell’s. (Also, there are often a couple of boxes of free books, of mixed quality, on the sidewalk outside Powell’s. Who doesn’t love free books?)

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Campus Days 2016: Transportation!

Hello, Prospective Students!
We’re excited to meet you all for Campus Days. But first, here is some advice for getting to Hyde Park and even exploring other parts of Chicago, if you have time. Below are our recommendations for transportation. Feel free to email us ( if you have any questions!

From the Airport:
O’Hare: The Blue Line runs straight from Chicago O’Hare to the Loop, where you can hop on ctathe 6 or 2 bus down to Hyde Park.

Midway: The 55 bus goes straight from Midway Airport to Hyde Park. The 55th & Ellis stop is essentially on campus, but if you’re staying a little farther east, ask your host (or Google) which stop you should disembark at. You can also jump on the Orange Line from Midway, which will take you to the Loop, where you can grab a train to another neighborhood if you are staying or exploring outside of Hyde Park.

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Anywhere but the Reg: Alternate Study Spots around Campus

Welcome back, MAPH! As winter quarter begins, we’d like to cue you into some of our favorite and not too well known study spots in and around campus.

On Campus:

The Smart Museum Café (M-Fr 8am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun 11am-4:30pm)tumblr_inline_nrla95jV8t1ql85ks_540

Stuart Café (M-Fr 8am – 3pm)

Harris School Cafe (M-Fr 8am – 5pm)

Booth Café (M-Fr 7am-8pm; Sat 7am-3pm)

Logan Café ( M–Fr, 8 am–8 pm; Sat–Sun, 12pm–8pm)

Crerar Library (Sun-Th 8am-1am; Fr-Sat 8am-10pm)

Study Room on the first floor of the Center for the study of Gender and Sexuality (M-F 9am-5pm)

Library at the Oriental Institute (Hours: Closed M; T, Th-Sun 10am-5pm; W 10am-8pm)

Law Library Cafe, if you can get in (M-Th 8am – 5pm; Fr 8am – 3:30pm)

Hallowed Grounds (M-Th 8:30am-11:30pm; Fri 8:30am-9:00pm; Sat 11:30am-9:00pm; Sun 11:30am-11:30pm)

Bartlett Commons (M-Th 7am – 8:30pm; Fr 7am – 7:30pm; Sat 8am – 2:30pm; Su 8am – 8:30pm)

Stony Island Arts Bank (T-Sat 11am-6pm)

Close to Campus:

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Making Winter Break Work

Dear MAPH,

Winter break can be the perfect time to unwind, reflect on the past quarter and have a bit of a breather before the new year starts. Winter break is also the ideal time to start preliminary research on your thesis. As veterans of the thesis process, we mentors have a few thoughts about thesis work and winter break:

  • Take advantage of this time and remember that your thesis is in the preliminary research stage. You shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you should be crafting an argument now; rather, take this time to follow various argumentative threads and learn about your object, field, critical conversation or intended methodology. Having the time and space away from campus can allow you to do thesis work on your own time and without the pressures of classes and other projects too.
  • Ask yourself “What do I want out of the project?” Asked early, this question can solidify the real-world scope of your project. That is, your true-to-self aim in writing a thesis. Do you want to play with the idea of Aristotle or explore the role of arts in economic and community development? Do you want to write a thesis that has both creative and critical components or would you like to ground your project in a discipline-specific topic? The answers to these questions may not be obvious, but taking the time to ask yourself truthfully what it is that you want out of this project can help bring your possible abstract ideas and thoughts about the thesis into more concrete and manageable terms. Remember the project scope too: 25-35 pages. You may come up with approximately 15 different project ideas, but remind yourself of what’s possible.

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  • Read Judiciously. You won’t be able to read everything; don’t read all of EVERYTHING. Be smart about what you choose to read. If you find early on that a specific article is not invested in the same idiosyncrasies or particular line of investigation that you are, don’t be afraid to put it down! Do write down why that particular article or book didn’t work. Jot down a few sentence that explain why you didn’t like this source or why it didn’t jive with your analysis. Also, keep a list of the articles your read!
  • Just read. Getting started can be painful, but know that the time and energy invested now will pay off later in winter quarter. Trust us.

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I Just Got To Chicago! …What Do I Do? (Part 2/2)

Hey, MAPHers!  We here at MAPH Central are gearing up for the year ahead and can’t believe Colloquium is less than three weeks away!  It’s time to get excited and also to get prepared for the quarter to begin: it’s going to be a whirlwind!  Here’s your second installment of things to do once you get to Chicago:

Get a Bike


Despite the winter cold, for much of the year Hyde Park is an extremely bike-friendly neighborhood! Having a bike can cut down commutes within Hyde Park to just a few minutes and is a great way of beating rush-hour traffic. It’s also a great way to get to the Loop for free. Using the Lakefront Trail you can get from Promontory Point to Navy Pier in under an hour, and without crossing a single road. Bikes can be used to navigate the rest of the city, too: CTA buses have bike racks, and bikes are allowed on CTA trains during non-peak hours.

Cheap secondhand bikes can be found on Marketplace, Craigslist or at Blackstone Bicycle Works, a youth education program based at the Experimental Station just a few blocks south of campus. Blackstone is a bike shop dedicated to promoting ecological practices and empowering youth, teaching useful skills to young people from Chicago’s south side.

Chicago has a bike sharing system, Divvy, which offers a $55 student membership. You can also purchase a bike to use for just one trip. Be forewarned, though: if you don’t return the bike to another Divvy station within 30 minutes (which can be a tough deadline to meet – almost impossible if you are biking to the Loop) you will accrue overtime fees, which can add up. The bikes are also a bit bulkier than one you might purchase. All things considered, if you plan on biking regularly, purchasing a bike would be the better option.

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I Just Got To Chicago! …What Do I Do? (Part 1/2)

Dear MAPHers,

Welcome to Chicago! Now’s the time that some of you are arriving in the city and beginning to settle in. Below, we’ve complied a short list of the top things to do when you arrive here, before Colloquium begins. You can read part 1 of 2 here, and check back here next week to find the second installment!

Your Mentors,
Jess, Michael and Clancey

  1. Get your University ID Card

Your ID card is an invaluable resource for your time at UChicago. It’ll get you into the campus libraries, allow you to check out books, allow you to access the university gym and the university pub (with a membership), use Student Health & Counseling Services, copy, print, scan or fax at various locations on campus (including the Regenstein library), borrow equipment for free from the TECHB@R, and ride the 170, 171, and 172 CTA buses and the UGoDaytime and UGoNightRide shuttles for free.

The good news is that you can get your ID card right now! You can collect yours at the Identification and Privileges Office, located in the lobby of Joseph Regenstein Library – just take a sharp left immediately before the electronic barrier that leads to the main part of the library. They’ll make your ID card for you for free; the whole process takes only a couple of minutes. All you need with you is a government-issued photo ID. The office is open weekdays until 6pm and Saturdays until 1pm.

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Alumni Resources: Libraries, Life Insurance, Listservs and More


Welcome to the club!

By the end of the MAPH year, you probably feel as though you never want to visit the Reg again. But even a few weeks into, summer you’ll start to miss access to the thousands of books (and more) that you’ve enjoyed this year.

Luckily, UChicago alumni have access to the libraries for free! In fact, there are a whole host of resources available to UChicago alum, ranging from library and gym access to health insurance and career resources. Check below the break for details on how to take advantage of everything available to you as a newly minted UC alum!

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