Tag Archives: Chicago

Two Dos, Two Don’ts: Ta Da

Things To Do

The Personal Edition


Last week we posted a more practical To Do List, with things like IDs and immunization forms. Hopefully we can intersperse those activities with some of the more enjoyable aspects of living in Chicago. Read below for ideas of how to spend the last couple of weeks of summer and hopefully relax a bit before we dive into Colloquium on the 14th!

1. Read about Chicago! This is a great time to find out about events here and to pick a news source for the year. Check out Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, or New City. There are also the long-standing Chicago newspapers, The Tribune and Sun-Times.

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To Dos, To Don’ts: Ta Da

Things to Do Before MAPH:

The Practical Edition


It probably feels like there is a lot to do before MAPH starts. And, well, that is accurate. But, it is no reason to be overwhelmed or not to enjoy the end of the summer! We have created two lists, this first one is more practically-minded. (The second will be posted in a few days) Below are some things we suggest you do before Colloquium begins.

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: A Guide to the North Side

As lovely as Hyde Park is, it’s useful and fun to get out into other Chicago neighborhoods throughout the year. We recommend trying a few during the summer after you move out here to see where your home-away-from-home in Chicago might be! To get you started, the office staff has thrown together a starter guide about a few of our favorite neighborhoods around town…

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One of the easiest and most reliable ways to get around Hyde Park is a bicycle. Even Chicago as a whole is pretty bike-friendly, with the beautiful path from Hyde Park up and along the lake to North Side neighborhoods like Lincoln Park. It is a beautiful ride and surprisingly fast, since there are no cars to wait or watch out for. Even just within Hyde Park, a bike can be a quick and easy way to get to campus, grab groceries, etc.


So, where are these so-called bicycles and where do I put my hands on those handle bars?

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The Transporter…. aka CTA

Chicago is a vast city with incredible neighborhoods, sites, and food. All year, we’ll encourage you to take advantage of this city and explore its many neighborhoods, from Lincoln Park to Logan Square to Chinatown (and beyond!).


Wicker Park Coffee Shop.

This post will help you navigate public transport in Chicago. Even if you have a car, public transit will help you get wherever you are going. (For those of you who already live here, feel free to post any tips or helpful info we may have missed down in the comments section). And your devoted Mentors can also offer directions, transport advice, and even correct some Google Map directions to and from Hyde Park! Feel free to email us or pop into the office for additional info.

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Campus Days: Alternative Housing Options

Welcome prospective MAPH students! As you may already know, MAPH’s Campus Days is coming up on April 6th and 7th. This two-day introduction to the program is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to be a MAPH student: you will have the chance to mingle with current MAPHs, meet Alumni, visit courses, and, as is MAPH tradition, eat lots of food while engaging in a series of intellectual conversations (often centered around the opening film screening and subsequent panel discussion).

For those of you who weren’t able to house with a MAPH student, whether because  placements fill up quickly on a first-come, first-serve basis, or because you’d simply like a different housing experience, MAPH has compiled some suggestions for alternative housing for the 6th & 7th.

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What I Talk about when I Talk about Winter Quarter


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. 

1. Talk!

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)3743579869_db4ed34dbe_z

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!)Why-is-it-still-winter-in-Sweden

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.