The first week of school was one to remember. Immersion week was exciting, entertaining, and exhausting. Here’s how it works: as you’re making out your schedule you have a choice of a “Discover Chicago” course or an “Explore Chicago” course. The difference between the two is Discover Chicago meets a week early and goes from 8-5 Monday through Friday (the class may end a little earlier). The class size varies from fifteen to twenty-five.
Discover Chicago – Wild Chicago 2011
In my class, Wild Chicago, we ventured out into the city of Chicago in order to explore how to overcome everyday challenges through adventure. For example, we went kayaking down the Chicago River and observed the challenges of expectations, bias, and other preconceived notions. Most of these feelings were mostly derived from my lack of experience in kayaking. Another adventure we took was rock climbing. There we learned the proper way to rock climb and how to tie numerous knots for billeting. Now I was pretty confident in myself for rock climbing. Oh, how I was wrong...
Immersion Week is not the only aspect of Discover Chicago, however. Discover lasts eight out of the ten weeks in the quarter, because they cut two weeks off due to the amount of time you spend on the class during the first week. These eight weeks consist of a common hour taught by student mentors (Alexa and Jessie shout-out!) and a lecture hour taught by DePaul faculty. The work varies from class to class; however, in my class, we usually stick with the adventure aspect during common hour. Last week, our class went to the Rey Meyer Fitness Center and took a free yoga class, and then afterwards, we went to the class and talked about adventure education and the different types encountered.
Another aspect of the Discover experience is a DePaul tradition called New Student Service Day. The day of service performed on Tuesday really opened my eyes to what DePaul University is all about. The Vincentian mission has become a part of my daily life, even if I do not serve. I believe that part of the Vincentian mission is to recognize the social problems before us and to intellectually think about them in a constructive manner. Our class served at an organization called La Casa Norte, which helps fight homelessness by providing youth between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one a stable environment in which they can progress their life. Our work at La Casa Norte is a great example of what the university ministries describes for Service Day. The boys at La Casa Norte definitely have a struggle in their daily life. Each has his own story. Each has lost something dear to them. But all of them are brought together as a family because of service. Without service, there would not be organizations such as La Casa Norte. Our services, such as cooking, cleaning, organizing, and socializing provided a meaningful presence in the La Casa Norte community. The boys there really enjoyed our presence on Tuesday, which is something I assume they do not have very often.