I fell in love with Chicago years before I knew I was going to attend ICO. As the big move to Chicago nears, I am getting excited for the food. Chicago is renowned for their famous foods, such as Chicago-style hot dogs and Chicago-style pizzas. And there are three reasons my stomach grumbles in excitement about my new adventure in Chicago that I would like to share.
1. When you’re in Chicago, you’d better try some authentic Chicago-style pizza. And I think they mastered it at Pizzeria Uno. While they have other things on their menu, such as burgers and mouth-watering desserts, people go there for the deep-dish pizza. At least that is what makes my family return to the little restaurant on 29 E. Ohio. The restaurant is smaller than its franchise locations. However, it is a must. The serving sizes are huge and you can easily share a small pizza with three people.
2. Topo Gigio has some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. My absolute favorite dish is Tortellini alla Panna, which is pasta with cream sauce, mushrooms, pancetta, sweet peas and Parmigianino reggiano cheese. This dish actually makes my mouth water just thinking about it (which never happens when I think of pasta). It is found in the heart of historic Old Town at 1516 N Wells Street. It’s also a perfect place to eat before you see a show at Second City. Make sure to check out all the photos and autographs of celebrities that have eaten there before you.
Here’s my experience with financial aid thus far: you click a few buttons, give a little personal information and voila…they give you money. Easiest $55k anyone has ever made. However, as the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
I’m maybe the dumbest person I know financially. I didn’t understand interest until the age of 20, and I’m still shaky on what the term “tax deductible” means. The most experience I have with bills is setting up an automatic online payment for my apartment rent. In college, I lost my debit card probably five times and often got letters from the bank that did not say “Great job with your spending this month!” In fact, usually just the opposite.
So, the question is, why on earth would the government give any amount of money to a person like me? The answer is kind of flattering. They think I’m an investment! Having more eye docs all over the country is worth it to them to give serious coin to a bunch of 20-somethings. If our education is a new house, FAFSA is our mortgage.
The details of federal aid are much more daunting. Maybe not to everyone, but certainly to me. I’ve vowed to be done burying my head in the sand; from here on out I’m going to TRY to understand my financial aid better because I don’t want trouble down the road. The other day my mom was helping me break down the components of my reward and I could not understand the concept of work study. A solid twenty minutes and a lame metaphor later, I finally got it. (Turns out it’s not money in your pocket for shopping, as I had originally thought.)
Kids are commonly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remembered my classmates saying firefighter, policeman, teacher, doctor, etc. I don’t remember much from my childhood, but I do remember that I had no idea what I wanted to be. I felt this way for years. My junior year in college, my brothers, sisters, mom and dad were still posing that question. Sure, I was a foot taller and has stubble on my chin, but my answer was still the same–I didn’t know. Fortunately, one thing I was certain of was that I liked science. My interest in the subject is why I chose to major in biology.
It was during this year in school that I really started to scout possible career paths. As the youngest of eight siblings, all of whom are in healthcare, it was my natural inclination to follow the footsteps of my brothers and sisters. I investigated all the possibilities–from physical therapy to pharmacy, medicine to dentistry. I considered all of them to be great professions and could picture myself in those fields for the considerable future. What could be more satisfying than improving the overall wellness of the community? My volunteer leader once told me, “The world is separated into two types of people: givers and takers.” During his years of observing other people’s jobs as well as his own, he saw the former being more satisfied.
Second year. That’s right, ladies and gents, the class of 2017 officially finished their first year at ICO about a month ago. Which, after nine months of rigorous coursework, only means one thing: summer!
It’s our last summer without classes, and my classmates are scattered all over the place–some are in the Caribbean on mission trips, some are in their hometowns, some are staying in Chicago.
I myself am staying in Chicagoland and have perhaps taken on one too many activities. I’m working in the admissions office three or four times a week and taking shifts at a Lenscrafters in the suburbs when I can. And, of course, I’d be a fool not to explore the city’s wide variety of downtime activities. I’m trying out lots of restaurants and rooftop bars, which are great for enjoying a margarita or cold beer with friends in the good weather. It’s days and nights like these that make up ten-fold for this past harsh winter (multiple polar vortices and all). Still on my summer to-do list is sampling what’s reputed to be the best tiramisu in town at Sapori Trattoria and attending Jazzin’ at the Shedd. Obviously we’re not exactly well-paid as students and cutting costs is great, so I’ve been making use of Groupon and LivingSocial deals to be able to enjoy new experiences at discounted rates of 50 percent or more. I highly recommend it.
Now that my time at home is becoming shorter, I’m beginning to feel a sense of loss. I’m beginning to appreciate the things I have, things that I have always taken for granted and things that I will not have when I leave for ICO in August.
At this point in time, I live in Toronto, Ontario, in the magical land of Canada. We live in igloos and hunt polar bear. We play hockey while riding on moose and our workforce runs off of Tim Hortons coffee. We always say sorry, even when it’s not our fault.
I’m going to miss all of that.
I’ve never been a sentimental person. I guess that’s because I’m not the type of person who takes his time to appreciate life. I have always been excited to leave wherever I was and experience something new, and that’s evident now in the fact that I’ve spent a ton of time preparing for school, but absolutely none preparing to leave home.
It’s official. I am a college graduate. It’s been only a few days and it still hasn’t hit me. At moments, I feel the realness of everything hit me, and I choke back a sob and then it’s back to pretending that it is just a summer vacation. Graduating college means packing and unpacking. The hard thing to realize is that the next time I pack up for school, I’ll be moving to Chicago for my next adventure. This makes me feel excited yet sad. Both of these emotions can be used to express how I feel about opening a new chapter of my life. While I’m sad to close this chapter in my life, I am also excited for the new one.