Author Archives: Mike Queroz, Communication

What’s for lunch?

So this week I had a random thought in my head…what do students at UIC do for lunch?

With about 85 percent of the campus being commuter students, obviously everyone has to eat at some point during the day. Many students flock to the Inner Circle right around noon to eat Subway or Wendy’s. But does’t that get pricey?

I try my best to pack my lunch from home everyday. Each week I go to the grocery store to purchase food that I can easily assemble. With a full schedule of 18 credit hours, an internship and USG, I need food that is quick to assemble and eat. Typically, I’ll make myself a nice sized salad, a piece of fruit, yogurt, a fruit drink, some type of protein and a small sugary snack. During really tough weeks, I’ll pack myself a Healthy Choice frozen dinner, which are typically healthier due to the fact that food is steamed. Not only does packing my own lunch save me tons of money, but it also allows me to have healthier and balanced meals.

Once a week I’ll treat myself to some commercial food. I like to switch it up each week. From Jimmy John’s to Fontano’s for a sub or Taylor Made Pizza for a breaded steak sandwich. I usually try to avoid the Inner Circle.

So I’m curious, what does everyone do for lunch? Any lunch packing tips?

Interested in being a student leader?

Hey y’all!

This week I am going to do a little promotion for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). As vice president of the organization, I am also the chair of the communications & recruitment committee.

USG currently has about 20 open positions and is seeking undergraduate students who are dedicated to improving student life, have the desire to be a student advocate and learn about university and governmental issues, and who have potential to become a great leader for the school.

For those not familiar with the organization, USG is the official student voice representing the undergraduate student body. USG serves as the connection between the student body and university administration.

Weekly USG membership time requirements include: attend three office hours; partake in an hour-long committee meeting; and attend the Thursday general meeting from 5 to 7 p.m.

To apply, visit http://www.uic-usg.org/about-usg/documents/ and open “Membership Application 2013.” Fill out the application and send to usgcrc@gmail.com. Or, come to our office in Student Center East, Suite 397 (student office area, above the Wellness Center), on from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday to pick up a paper application and meet current members of USG. You will also receive a free ROCKSTAR Energy Drink!

All applications are due by March 1, 2013. Select applicants will be interviewed during the week of March 4. All applicants will be notified of USG’s decision by March 12. Those invited to become members will be sworn in at the March 14 USG general assembly meeting at 5 p.m. Membership is valid until May 2014.

For more information on the committees you can work on, time commitments and other information, please visit www.uic-usg.org or email usgcrc@gmail.com.

Hope to see some of my readers joining USG!

Changes, changes.

Howdy!

As we approach our fifth week of the semester, I’m feeling pretty confident about a lot of different things. Change isn’t hard, but it’s certainly manageable.

For one, I’ve decided not to run for vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government again. After two terms, I’ve had a great time as vice president and have been able to accomplish a lot. As elections approach, I decided to run for an assembly member position instead.

I decided not to run for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that next academic year I will be a senior. During my last year at UIC, I want to be able to dive myself more fully into my internships. If all goes as planned, I will be only taking 12 credits for both semesters next year. This will allow me to be able to balance out school work and internship time. I will not be leaving USG because I have worked so hard the past three years to help strengthen this important organization on campus. With that said, my second reason for not running is because I want to help train the next vice president to be as effective, if not better, than I was during my time. I trust that the next vice president will be great. As we find out the official candidates next week, I will gladly endorse one that I am confident in. Next year, I hope to be a committee chair in USG and still provide help to the future leaders of the organization.

On a personal level, I have learned how to focus better during homework time! Like most students, I tend to procrastinate before doing papers and other assignments. However, after some research and a trip to The Vitamin Shoppe, I found Focus Formula! Simply put, it’s a multivitamin that has ingredients to help you focus and have a better memory. This past week, I have been taking two at dinner and am able to fully indulge myself into homework after. The results have been amazing. Not only am I getting my homework done faster, but I’m also going ahead on assignments as well! I promise this is not some silly advertisement. I’m loving the product so much that I want to share it with all of you!

Change is certainly good.

-Mike

LOL @ UIC review

“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the good burger, can I take your order?!”

If you know that reference, you probably know Kenan Thompson, star of many of the ’90s kid’s TV shows and “Saturday Night Live.” He was the comedy act for the first ever “LOL @ UIC” last Thursday.

The event, hosted by Campus Programs, was free and heavily advertised. Through Twitter, I was able to win VIP passes to the show. I brought my friend to the show and snagged some great third-row seats.

As Kenan is pretty famous for being hilarious on television and making many laugh, I had high expectations for the show. However, I felt like he wasn’t quite able to meet them.

The show was about an hour long. For the first 30 minutes, Kenan talked to about his life to a large audience full of students at the UIC Forum. He seemed to be a bit bored and tired, often complaining about the crappy weather outside. While rambling on about the TV shows and movies he starred in and the crazy days he has had as a celebrity, he often inserted some hilarious jokes. He even called a few audience members out for leaving the room to use the bathroom or coming in to the show late.

However, I had thought stand-up comedy was when a comedian would ramble on about crazy adventures or cite stories that would keep the audience gasping for air. Kenan seemed to just ramble without having any zest. He even stated that he was not particularly good at stand up when he auditioned for SNL. It then hit me that he is more of a film actor than a stand-up comic.

For the last 30 minutes, Kenan did a Q&A with the students. Some of the questions that were asked, however, were just a waste of time. Many asked for personal favors, like how to get themselves on television, to sing an autograph or to make a special shout out on SNL for them. Kenan didn’t seem to be very happy about this. Even when there were good questions, he kind of just brushed them off…unwillingly to fully answer them. He usually responded with “Uh… I don’t know…hmmm.” He didn’t even want to reenact some of his most famous characters from his long career.

After an hour, Kenan ended the show and went backstage for a meet and greet with VIP pass holders. Luckily, I was one of those people. Despite my disappointment with his routine, I was still excited to meet one of the people who consistently entertained me as a child. Even though he might not be the best stand-up comic, he is still a great sketch and film actor.

Backstage, Kenan still seemed disinterested. I guess I just expected him to be bubbly and outgoing, like the hilarious characters he portrayed. He could just be one of those people that are more shy off stage than on. He was still content with signing autographs and taking pictures with his fans. I even was able to express my appreciation for one of his SNL acts with Madonna and Lady GaGa. I was appreciative for his time.

Despite my disappointment with Kenan’s act, the “LOL @ UIC” event itself was a fantastic idea. I think that it was a decent first try for this new tradition. I’m positive that next year it’ll be even better and will get better throughout the years. It was truly refreshing to see all the students that showed up for a good time. It made UIC seem more like a community, which is something that is always good for school spirit.

Did you attend the show? What were your thoughts?

Interning for success

When I came to UIC, I knew that I couldn’t possibly learn everything about my future career in the classroom. I had to extend a foot outside class and learn how to apply my theories from class into practice.

As a communication major and managerial skills minor, my goal is to be involved in the field of public relations after graduation. In fact, my dream job is to be a public relations manager for a record label or recording artist. In order to fully grasp what it takes to make it in the business, I understood that I needed to learn all I could about the field.

I landed my first internship sophomore year. I was fortunate enough to be hired as a social media intern for the Office of Sustainability here on campus. In that role, I contributed to the office blog, added content to the website, ran the Facebook page and Twitter account for the office and helped spread awareness about the office’s initiatives through a couple of videos I made for the organization. It was a great way to learn how to represent a brand and communicate with others through social media and online tools. I am truly happy I was able to start my career-oriented work at the Office of Sustainability.

A video I made at the Office of Sustainability internship

After about a year of interning for the office, I decided to pursue other interests for my junior year of college. Last semester, I started remotely interning for a independent record label. I learned some valuable stuff about the business and what happens behind the scenes of the music industry. I also learned a thing or two about online promotions and event planning through webinars with industry professionals. However, I felt the need to be in a physical workspace. The internship at the label was a good sneak preview of the public relations and communications field in the music industry; however, I wanted a full preview.

Before break last semester I began looking for a new internship. Around that time, I had a chance to meet the promotions manager for a major radio network in Chicago during a class presentation. It was then I learned of a promotions internship opportunity. After applying, I was able to snag an interview. After a great interview this past Wednesday, I was happy to find out that I got it! In the coming weeks, I will begin a new experience as a promotions intern for a major radio network. I am more than excited to start, as this internship will show me hands-on how to conduct great promotions and public relations.

Interning is essential if you want to get a great job when you graduate. I really encourage all of you to intern if you haven’t yet! Not only are you able to receive academic credit for it, but more importantly, you will learn a great deal about what you want to do later in life. You will also have some experience to show your employers when you begin job hunting. To be quite honest, the benefits of an internship are endless.

Are internships hard to find? Not at all! Is it hard to get into one? Maybe. Luckily, UIC has a variety of resources for internships and prepping. Go to the UIC Office of Career Services website to look at a list of places that are currently look for interns. Also, if you search the careers section of the website for a company where you’d like to intern, I’m sure you will find some great opportunities for internships. Furthermore, I know if you get in contact with the LAS Internship Program they will be more than willing to help you find some organizations you can intern at.

The point is — there are many places you can intern. You just have to take the first step and start looking! Interning benefits you in a number of ways…so get to it!

Semester planning and determination

After a month full of relaxation and gluttony, I was more than ready to start a brand new semester. Don’t get me wrong, I did some fun stuff and even started scrapbooking, but it gets boring not having anything to do after three weeks — I was ready to start school. I look at a new semester like a clean slate — I have another period where I can start everything from scratch on the right foot. So far, so good.

The week started off with some confusion. I had most of my books ordered or purchased and my pens and pencils packed in my bag. Problem was that I didn’t know my final schedule. Typically, I have my schedule picked out and organized well before the semester. However, this time around it wasn’t quite like that. I had registered for classes a long time ago, but was unsure about one of them. I spent the past two weeks running around and emailing faculty to get into some electives. On the first day I went to some classes not on my schedule to “visit” and see if I liked. This was tiring, as I was back to back in my schedule and was very groggy. I ended up dropping a class due to…well, I’m going to be honest…RateMyProfessor.com. If there is anything I’ve learned about picking classes, it is to research the professors BEFORE classes start and take them into careful consideration. In my experience, if a professor has really, really bad reviews…drop that course. Trust me, it’ll save you time, a headache and possible low grades in the long run. I used to brush off bad reviews and thought, “hey, maybe they’re actually good and this is just another student complaining.” Well, I was wrong. Hopefully, this semester I was right with dropping that course. I really liked the topic of the class, but I just had to listen to my conscience.

I genuinely enjoy all of the classes I am enrolled in right now. All of the professors are great, make the material interesting and teach the topics very well. There are a lot of readings to do this semester, though, which is probably expected when you’re a second-semester junior.

Overall, this semester seems promising. I just have to remember to keep my eye on the prize. And that prize is a summer of no books and a year away from graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

Making winter break meaningful

It’s finally here – the end of the semester!

As I begin finals this week, I can’t help but get excited for winter break. I have a countdown running on my laptop and have a screensaver of a photo and quote from Homer Simpson saying, “I never want to leave this bed.” They both remind me that soon, very soon, I will be able to sleep in and do whatever I want for a whole month. I am in need of being school-free.

With that said, I also realize the importance of taking advantage of the free time I’m going to have. Last winter break I literally slept in all day and went out with friends at night. I felt like a bum to say the least. I’m fully open to the idea of making this break productive.

I definitely want to express my creativity somehow over break. As I was studying yesterday, I suddenly felt the desire to be creative. I have a lot of great ideas and have a mind full of creativity, if I do say so myself. During the semester, with school and other commitments, the ability to express my creativity is limited. Over break, instead of writing papers and studying, I want to find a creative outlet. I’ve had a bunch of empty scrapbooks and printed photos in my closet for a couple of years now. I think now I’ll actually bring them out and put it all together. Or maybe I’ll even buy some canvas and do some cool art project. Whatever it is, I have a desire to express myself in some creative fashion.

I’ve also felt the desire to volunteer this past week. I’ve been working on a project that involves making press releases for my local YMCA. One press release I am doing is about volunteering. After hearing first-hand about the impact that one can have by simply giving up their time to teach a class or help out at an event, it put volunteering into perspective. I was able to talk to a stay-at-home mom but volunteers at her children’s grammar school and at the pre-school program at the Pav YMCA. I also talked to a 15-year-old who, with a busy high-school schedule, fits in time to volunteer for Y events. Their stories and passion made me realize the effect volunteering can have on a community. I want to find some way to volunteer for the community. Even if it is just a one-time thing, I want to feel like I am giving back my talents to the community. During break, I’m going to find something and get started volunteering.

Whatever I do, I just want to be able to say that I did something meaningful to me over break. Winter break is the time for UIC students to rest, collect their thoughts on life and do the things that they can’t do with busy school schedules. I hope that I’m able to do just that over break and come back in January with a fresh and ready mind.

Until next year…

-Mike

Lecture capture, library and ACCC news

This past week I attended the campus Library/IT committee meeting. In English, this means that I met with the administration to talk about how the budget for the library and ACCC is being and will be used. We talked about a bunch of interesting news about the library and ACCC. However, there is one particular thing that stuck out to me.

Did you know that many classrooms are equipped with a service called lecture capture? Using BlackBoard, professors can record and store their lectures from class. This means that you can miss class (only if you’re sick, of course) and go back online to watch what you missed. Personally, I’d love if my professors did this — not because I want to miss class, but because then I wouldn’t have to take notes all throughout class. Instead, I could focus on what my professor is saying and really indulge in the learning process.

A big portion of the ACCC budget (which comes from your student fees) goes toward the lecture capture. With that said, not many classes are using this feature, so it’s not being used to its full potential. If you think that you’d really benefit from this service, ask your professors to start using it! Nicely, though. If one professor starts using it, imagine how it could spread. One professor tells another and next thing you know most professors will be using it! It will only better learning at UIC.

Some other notes from the meeting:

  • The light-wells on the third floor of the library (those big random gaps in the floor) will be closed up by May.
  • Stevenson Hall first floor will go under renovation to include more seating and study space.
  • ACCC is looking to open more learning space in BSB
  • ACCC is also looking to renovate the Piano room in Student Center West to include more collaboration space for students. This means, spaces for laptop charging, project working and more.
  • Only 90 percent of students actually use up their semesterly printing limit of $15.

Do you have any thing you want me to talk to the committee about? Share here!

Watch what’s going on with UIC!

Hello everybody!

My blog post this week will be short in text. In lieu of reading my words this week, I want all of you to watch the video(s) below.

Paula Allen-Meares, the chancellor of UIC, has published a series of videos titled “UIC State of the Campus.” Think of it like the president’s “State of the Union” address on TV. The chancellor’s videos inform the UIC community, especially students, about where UIC is currently and where we plan to go in the next five to 10 years. Some of the highlights include the university’s list of accomplishments, things we need to improve on and what the university will do to correct any shortcomings we have.

So please, take about half an hour to watch the Chancellor’s State of the Campus address. Even if you only watch one segment of it, view the videos!

Links to video:

UIC State of the Campus 1

UIC State of the Campus 2

UIC State of the Campus 3

UIC State of the Campus 4

App-friendly finals

Finals…3 weeks!

Yeah, I’m pretty stressed out, like all of you. But I can’t even imagine how much worse it would be if I didn’t have technology. I am big Apple products fan and am fortunate to own various devices. Whether it’s on my iPad, iPhone or Mac, I use apps all of the time to help me organize my life. Besides the Calendar app, here are some of my recommendations to help you out during finals or for general organization:

  • Reminders – If you have the latest software on your Mac, iPad, iPhone or iPod, you have the Reminders app. Built into Apple iOS, Reminders is basically a To-Do list. On the app you can have several different lists. I have four – General To-Do list, Classes/Homework To-Do list, Internship To-Do list and USG To-Do list. Whenever I have an assignment or something to do, I type it into the respective list. If it is something I have to do by a certain time, I set an alert for when the assignment is do. My phone will then notify me if I have to email someone, turn in a homework assignment or go meet with a teacher. I love this app and I would be scarily disorganized without it.
  • Evernote – I really hope everyone already uses this app. I have it installed on all of my devices…it’s that good. Evernote is a note-taking app. You can make notebooks and add different notes in there. The best part is that it is all for free! I use the app to take notes for classes, meetings, etc. I organize different notebooks and take notes for each different subject. Whenever I complete a note, it is automatically synched to all of your devices. This means if you finish taking notes in your management class on your computer, it will automatically show up on your iPad, etc. Besides Reminders, I use this app on a daily basis. It is a must-have!
  • Dropbox - Have you ever saved something on your computer at home and realized while at school that you actually need the document? Sick of carrying a USB stick? Dropbox is your solution. I use Dropbox like Steve used his handy-dandy notebook on “Blue’s Clues.” Instead of saving my essays, homework assignments and other school documents on my computer’s hard drive, I save it on my Dropbox account. You can download Dropbox easily to your computer and have it act as a cloud-based drive. So when you finish writing a paper, all you have to do is save it to your Dropbox folder. Your folder then is automatically synched to your Dropbox apps online, on your phone or other device. So don’t ever worry about forgetting a document on your home computer or losing your USB stick. You can download Dropbox for free and use it to save all of your documents without a hassle.
I know that these apps are going to work for you. Download them and make your life easier not only for these next couple of weeks, but also for the rest of your college career!
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