BackgroundInterview Date:February 2020
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: South Asian/Pakistani
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: December 2020
High School Experience: Public high school in San Antonio, TX with a graduating class of about 730 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Minor: Computer Science
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in the Security Daemons Club and I play intramural sports.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The Security Daemons Club gives me a better understanding of my major, and it provides more challenging opportunities to help me going forward. For intramurals, it’s good for being social and meeting new people.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
A lot of the work is lab-based. We have 15 labs throughout the whole quarter and each of them will take 3-4 hours. We’re assigned the labs at the beginning of the quarter and we have to finish them on our own, but you’ll learn more about them in class.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They make it rigorous and have a high standard for the quality of work. They prepare you to move forward. They make the first few introductory classes really tough on you, but that helps you with the more advanced courses.
How does the quarter system impact your academic experience?
I like it a lot. When I started out, it was hard to pick up on because you’re learning so quickly. But, you realize you’re getting done with classes so fast and you have the opportunity to take more classes. You’ll be in school regardless, so I think being able to take more classes and pick which classes you want to take is better.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
A lot of the work is collaborative. The class sizes for my major doesn’t have more than 30-40 students per class, so a lot of people in the major for cybersecurity know each other pretty well and be in multiple classes together. A lot of professors encourage collaborative work because they know going into the workforce will have a lot of teamwork.
How accessible are your professors?
Most of the time they’re pretty accessible. They always provide an email for contact and office hours. A lot of them are available through the phone as well, and they respond pretty quickly.
What has been your favorite part of the academics at DePaul?
My favorite part is that the classes for my major aren’t that big, which gives the opportunity for a professor to get to know you so you can make a connection with them. Going forward, all college students think about it where they’ll work after graduation. A lot of professors at DePaul have jobs outside of teaching, so they may have connections that can help you.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I knew I wanted to get into technology growing up as a kid. When I was younger doing computer science, I wasn’t a fan of it and didn’t think I could do coding the rest of my life, so I decided to check out cybersecurity. I added the Computer Science minor because for the cybersecurity you already complete the necessary courses, so you just have to declare it before graduating.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Corcoran Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Buckingham apartment with three other roommates
Junior/Senior: Studio apartment in Chicago
How was transitioning from San Antonio, TX to Chicago, IL?
It’s such a big difference. The city life is crazy here, and the cold is not a joke. There was a transition from driving everywhere in San Antonio to public transportation and walking in Chicago. The lifestyle is fast-paced.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Our campus has campus police so they’re always roaming around. They give you their number when you get to DePaul, so if you feel unsafe they’ll give you a ride within a certain mile radius. When you’re on your own you have to be careful, and after midnight you probably don’t want to take the subway that often.
Pros and cons of being located in Lincoln Park, Chicago?
1) DePaul is a two-campus college, one in the heart of downtown another in Lincoln Park, which is more of a campus setting with campus life. Downtown is more faced-paced and you’ll see working people. It’s cool to experience both.
2) The Lincoln Park campus has so many clubs and opportunities to get into, and it’s more of a campus setting. They’re always advertising those in our student center, and everyone knows if you’re going to meet up, you’re most likely going to this campus. It’s a pretty central location for a lot of students.
1) If all of your major’s classes are in the Loop campus, you’ll probably never go to the Lincoln Park campus except for the gym or a specific reason.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There are a lot of comedy clubs here, so we’ll check out those. Chicago is a big hub for great food, and we have a list of places we go to try out. There are a lot of clubs out here as well, so there’s a good nightlife setting near the Lincoln Park campus. You can walk around and enjoy the nightlife there. I like going out to a club or two, or maybe just sit at a bar and talk with some friends. Sometimes I have friends I won’t see throughout the whole week so we’ll just go to a bar and catch up. If not, we’re probably going to a comedy show. Most students don’t have classes on Friday, so we’ll go out Thursday night sometimes and then also on the weekends.
How did your nightlife experience differ when you were a freshman and less socially established?
As a freshman, I came to Chicago not knowing anybody and finding the right group of people was pretty tough from the beginning. Now I’ve met a lot of people and they can help me out if I need anything. If there’s a party and we all wanted to go, I’m sure someone knows someone to get in there.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty pleased with it. The only parts that are pretty rough is a lot of students live in the suburbs, so for them to come down to the city is pretty tough because of parking, and us going to them isn’t feasible because there isn’t much to do there. I think DePaul caters to a lot of local students that live in Chicago. There will be a few people coming from out-of-state but there are a lot of [commuter] students. [Nearly 90% of DePaul University’s total student population commutes or lives off campus.]
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I’ve been to a few Greek life parties, but I don’t think it has that big of an impact. I don’t hear too much about that stuff often.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met some of them from a party we went to. I just walked around and started talking to some people and got their numbers. I also met people through intramurals, whether it was going to the gym together or grabbing a drink.
How would you describe the overall social scene at DePaul?
It’s pretty social-heavy. A lot of students don’t have Friday classes, so everyone is willing to go out Thursday and Friday night. Thursday nights people will go out with DePaul students, and Friday night they’ll go out with schools that are close-by, such as Loyola University Chicago. There’s always something to do.
How has the two campus system impacted your social experience?
You’re more split up by majors. The business, IT, film, and maybe communication majors are in downtown, so they’re not usually in the Lincoln Park area. You might not get to meet a lot of the people you may typically meet on campus because you’re split up into two areas.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
If you make the effort they do. You’ll see different races mix more than different sexual orientations. If I have an interest in being their friend, I’ll make the effort, but I haven’t seen much of it. [The undergraduate population is 52% White, 8% Black, 20% Hispanic, and 11% Asian.]
How do you like the size of DePaul in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How was transitioning to a school with [about 14,000] students?
I like it a lot because it’s not as big as you’d expect it to be. It provides more opportunities to meet other students and professors.
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
People in Greek life hang out with each other and even mix fraternities together. Usually, they’re in their cliques within Greek life, not with other people.
How would you describe the Pakistani or South Asian community on campus? How strong is it?
I think it’s pretty strong, we have a good group. A lot of them are IT or business majors so I see them quite often. We’ve made a good group and try to take classes together. They have a bunch of clubs pertaining to these types of cultures. I have a lot of South Asian and Pakistani friends.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Every three months they have a job and internship fair. I’ve gotten offers from different companies through there. I’ve met with a lot of people who work in high places who come to the school to talk with students here. I’ve gotten an internship offer through recruiting that happened at DePaul.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve used the career office for resume help. I’ve also talked to our career advisor regarding internships. They know a lot of policies and are helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’ve learned Python, and am in the process of learning Java, and C. Python is helpful whether you’re a computer science major or not. I’ve learned a little bit about HTML.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating was the office to your needs?
They are quick to tell you what needs to be done during the application process. I’ve been to the office on both campuses and they’re very helpful. If they don’t know what to do, they provide you with direction on who to contact.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about DePaul before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew what the workload and professors would be like. You have to be prepared for the workload because DePaul is on the quarter system and classes go by fast.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If you’re coming to DePaul, know what you want to get into. If you’re visiting DePaul and only go to the Lincoln Park campus but want to be a business major, you’ll never get to see the business school because of the campus you toured. If you don’t know what you want your major to be, tour both campuses.
Reasons to attend DePaul:
1) DePaul is in the city of Chicago. I like being in the city when I’m young because it’s more fast-paced.
2) The professors do a lot for you, at least in the Cybersecurity major. A lot of them do have full-time jobs outside of teaching, so they teach you what it’s like being in their field of work. They have more insights on what’s happening in the real world.
3) There are clubs and organizations for everything, you just have to get yourself involved.
Reasons to not attend DePaul:
1) If you’re looking to be involved in Greek life, I don’t think it’s very big here.
2) Living in the city is really expensive.