Being from out of state, moving into the city of Chicago for the first time ever was a little daunting- especially when it came to choosing somewhere to live. If you’re not from the Chicago area, you probably don’t have much insight on the “best” and safest places. If you live in the heart of the city, you might be a little too far from the school. If you travel in the wrong direction from the school, you may end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
With a little less than a year to plan the big move to Chicago, the Residential Complex has been a great living option for a lot of us. There is nothing better than the convenience of living across the street from the school and not having to worry about public transportation!
RENOVATIONS FOR FUTURE RESIDENTS
If you haven’t heard yet, the RC will be renovated for the next year. This renovation begins in the summer! For anyone in the Class of 2020, the RC will be brand spankin’ new for you all (and quite frankly, that makes me a little jealous.) This year, the RC has already been renovated with some new furniture and everyone got new beds and drawers. The newest renovations that are being implemented this summer will provide students with a comfortable living environment.
The RC provides tons of work-study positions to residents. Some of these positions include the front desk, Event Coordinator, kitchen cleaner, Applicant Host, and Residents’ Assistant (RA.) These jobs don’t take up too much time and they will easily fit around your busy schedule.
Everyone is always aware of their safety and surroundings. Not only are security doing their job on the ICO campus, they are also monitoring the outer and inner surroundings of the RC. There have been numerous times where I locked myself out of my room and security has been there to help me with my struggles. Big brother is always watching out for us!
PLACES TO STUDY
There are plenty of areas to study in the RC. You don’t have to be holed up in your room for days on length to study. We have multiple study lounges filled with lots of cubicles and social study lounges with tables available on each floor. There are also some meeting rooms scattered around the RC that are available for students to utilize. Group study is always an option since you’ll be surrounded by other students studying for the same tests.
There are three social lounges in the RC with huge flat screen TVs and many gaming systems (Wii, Xbox Kinect.) It’s a great place to get your friends together to hang out and watch movies and TV shows. …You can also begin to question your friendships when you all start playing Mario Kart against each other. 😉
The RC has a student Events Coordinator who is in charge of planning fun things for residents to do throughout the year. These events have been great at helping students explore and enjoy the many things that happen in Chicago. Being in a large group allows everyone to pay cheaper rates at certain places. Some events we had this year included going to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, ice skating at the Maggie Daley skating ribbon, and a Chicago Bulls basketball game. The RC Event Coordinator also plans other events within the RC itself like a Labor Day weekend BBQ, “Christmas” dinners, snack breaks during finals week, and even a Super Bowl watch party.
You may be thinking that living with another person at this age might be a little awkward, but believe me, you might find your lifelong best friend in grad school. Not everyone’s situation will turn out this way, but it’s always nice to have someone to do things with when you’re living in the same common area as them. I was able to coordinate times with my suitemate to eat with, study with, and even go to optometry lab to finish our lab assignments. The majority of the class will also most likely live in the RC their first year, so you will be surrounded by your classmates. Having everyone in one place has been beneficial because I’m able to find people to help me with studying or even grocery shopping.
Everyone in the RC (except those living in the apartments) is enrolled in a meal plan. The cafeteria serves food three times a day. This is pretty convenient since we are studying so much. You don’t have to take the time out of your studies to cook. The cafeteria makes a wide variety of hot meals throughout the week. There’s also free coffee and drinks! They just added in a Vitamin Water machine, too, which has been pretty awesome.
The RC provides plenty of amenities and services to help students ease into the graduate school life. All of these factors provide a safe and open environment to live and study in. The RC may not be exactly like home, but it’s as close as you can get!