MAPH is an intense year, and reading time quickly becomes a scarce resource—so we here at MAPHtastic polled some of our current students, staff, and alums to see what books they wish they had read before doing the program. See below the jump to see what might be a good beach book for the summer before, or what theory people wish they had read before the MAPH Core class in fall!
Chicago is a fantastic theater town. There are many big theaters, but there are great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. This is where real Chicago theater lives- in the performances where you could reach out and touch the actors. There are over 200 theaters producing great innovative work for almost every taste. Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres.
Here is my basic quick guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap.
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…
Okay, so, you already know where to eat. You know what to do Friday afternoon (the MAPH Family & Friends reception!) and Saturday (graduate!). But, as someone who has spent the last 9 months sequestered in some kind of library, you may not be entirely sure how to fill up the rest of the weekend.
Don’t worry. You have many options. Here are some ideas to get you started:
I know, I know. Theses are due next week. You currently live in the Reg. Last night you happened to leave your spot for like 20 minutes without marking it with a sweatshirt/scarf/coffee mug/whatever and then you came back and there’s some person sitting there in pajama pants eating Twizzlers and it had the perfect position under the florescent lights and now how are you supposed to finish anything today and that other new person is seriously talking on the phone and your advisor just emailed you again and YOU WANT ME TO THINK ABOUT CONVOCATION?!? I’m not about to graduate; I’m about to club Twizzler kid over the head with a hardcover copy of the Chicago Manual of Style and then get taken away by the UCPD and seriously how is that person managing to eat Twizzlers audibly?!?!
So it might seem like I’m jumping the gun; I get it. Buuuuut you likely are about to graduate, and people might be coming to watch you do that, and you guys might want to go out eating and drinking somewhere new and special (not that Jimmy’s isn’t special…). You’ll be done soon and then it’s time to explore! So either bookmark this page for later use or use the guide below as a mouthwatering study break. Continue reading
For those prospective students planning on arriving early to Campus Days, MAPH has plenty of suggestions for ways to enjoy the city. Continue reading
1. Know What to Wear
I arrived at the conference about 90 minutes after getting off my flight. I’m a nervous traveler, so the t-shirt and jeans I was wearing were a bit sweaty and anxiety ridden. My jeans and shoes looked fairly presentable, but my bright blue Hound of the Baskervilles t-shirt visually alerted every one of my newbie status the moment I stepped inside the convention center. There were other people in jeans and t-shirts (and sports jerseys?), but I didn’t want to be lumped with that crowd, if you catch my drift. I wanted to be lumped with the buttoned-down men and business-casually dressed women. The other students from my program were all dressed within these categories, and I’m not at all sure how I missed the memo. When I left the conference to get lunch at Jimmy John’s (all of their sandwiches are .74¢ cheaper in Seattle!) I raided the clearance rack at a nearby Old Navy to buy a $10 button down. I even tucked it in, which is far cry from my typical untucked, half-buttoned flannel getup. I usually avoid tucking in shirts of any kind for fear of looking like a young dad about to play golf, but as I held the shirt over my body in a mirror at Old Navy I thought I looked like a young writer who was not quite professional. Yet.
2. Know If You’ll be Giving a Reading Continue reading
In case you missed Jessi’s excellent post on AWP on AfterMAPH, MAPH’s Alumni blog, check out some highlights of AWP 2014 below:
“Find the place that scares you most and run to it.” — Eric McMillan (MAPH ‘10) on writing and, well, life
Talking Craft: (from left) Evan Stoner (’14), Hao Guang Tse (’14), Andy Tybout (’14), Chris Robinson (’14), Joel Calahan (’05, current preceptor), Eric McMillan (’10), Hilary Dobel (’09)
Last night, while leading eight current MAPH creative writers on an uphill March from the Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center to Von Trapp’s in Capitol Hill, I was marveling (aloud, perhaps unfortunately for my companions) about what going to the AWP conference can do for an aspiring writer. We were on our way to the second-ever MAPH/UChicago Alumni offsite reading at AWP. Earlier that morning, my colleague A-J Aronstein and I had stopped by a panel featuring the poet and teacher—and reader at last year’s offsite event—Shaindel Beers(MAPH ‘00) entitled the “Art of Difficulty.” Using beautiful language, Shaindel described teaching poetry students in prisons, schools, etc. as finding a way of “giving permission.” To write, one has to believe that they have something worth saying, a voice worth hearing. To Shaindel, it is a writing teacher’s job to nurture that belief, to create a space for it to thrive.
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.
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
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.
On Friday, December 6th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm,
join MAPH students and alumni for ARTBAR, an evening of socializing, drinks, live performance, and art activities at the
The evening will include:
- Hands on art-making in 2 of the following media: clay, screenprinting, and photography,
- An improv, pop-up, interactive comedy club performance put on by artists exhibiting work in the Michelle Grabner-curated “A Study in Midwestern Appropriation,”
- Drinks, snacks, and socializing, in the spirit of MAPH Social Hour,
- An introduction to the Hyde Park Art Center and its programs for MAPH alumni and students by the Art Center’s Marketing & Communications Manager and our very own MAPH alumna Brook Rosini (AM ’05),
- DJ and open mic,
- and time to explore the art galleries!
MAPH has covered all the costs for MAPH students and alumni, but please feel free to make additional donations to the Art Center!
Totally lost on how to get there from campus after precept? The East Shuttle from the library will get you straight there if you’re not up to walking!