Author Archives: Mike Queroz, Communication

Counting down with dance and peace

Six weeks of school until the end of the semester and I’m going to handle it with more ease because of Zumba and yoga!

I’ve found myself, like most UIC students, counting down until the days I can sit back, relax and enjoy winter break. This has been a pretty stressful semester, so more than ever I am excited for it to end.

I still have tons of stuff to finish before then – research and a 15-page research paper, final projects and TESTS. Things are going to get hectic. But I’ve been actually handling my life pretty well the past couple of weeks due to some new additions I have made in my life.

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a Zumba and yoga class at my local YMCA. I’ve done both before, but figured that it would be a great stress reliever to do them during the school year. Sure, it’s two more free hours out of my schedule, but I figured that signing up for these classes would not only force me to work out, but will also allow myself some productive ME time.

I’ve had a great past two weeks and I’m giving all of the credit to Zumba and yoga. The Zumba class is so fun because it allows to dance my stress away and shed some calories. Yoga is even better because it gives me an hour to really take everything off my mind and heal my body and soul. I highly recommend everyone to schedule in something that will make them feel better these next six weeks. Even if it’s not yoga or Zumba, do something productive that you will enjoy! I feel confident that I will be able to handle the next six weeks because of the stress relief I will be having through the classes.

I am taking the classes at my local YMCA because it’s more convenient as a commuter and for my tight schedule. But if you have some more time or are closer to campus, check out the Rec center’s classes! They have tons of drop-in classes, like dance and candle light yoga. Check them out and really enjoy yourself!

 

The joys of commuting…seriously!

To you 85% of commuter students at UIC: No, this blog headline is not sarcasm. I actually enjoy commuting! Just hear me out.

So today I was driving home and found myself, as always, singing out LOUD the lyrics to my favorite songs. It was a long, tiring day and little things, like singing out loud on my way home, get out some of the tensions and pains of the day. It’s little things like this that made me realize commuting really isn’t that bad!

Freshman year, I was kind of bummed and worried that I wouldn’t be dorming at UIC. Like most others, cost came into play. Also, I only live 7 miles away (20-minute drive) from UIC. There was no way I would be dorming at UIC when I’m a hop, skip and a jump away from home.

I feel like there is a bad stigma associated with commuting. Whenever someone mentions to another that they commute you get the typical shock-of-horror face and comment like, “Oh gosh, that sucks!” But it really doesn’t! I’ve learned to love commuting.

Although my drive is relatively short compared to others, I appreciate the drive itself. Again, I can sing aloud. But I can also just get in my car across from my classes and drive to run an errand around town. Furthermore, it’s nice to not be in the same “school” mindset that residents may have all the time. When I leave campus, I leave school behind. I obviously still have homework to do, but I’m able to leave the school mindset that I have when I am physically on campus. I look forward to going home to my comfortable bed, away from the physical school atmosphere. Home is a getaway.

For others who may commute by train, it’s not so bad either. I tried it out before but stopped because the CTA and Metra stations are far from my house. But from the times I did try it, I loved the fact that I was able to study or read on my way to classes. I am kind of jealous of those who have a nice comfy Metra to get to school in. I would totally utilize that time sitting to catch up on work or just enjoy a good book.

I hope that UIC students get away from the stigma that commuting is “bad.” Can you think of some ways that we could rid of this? I have some, but I’ll save my big ideas for another day. In the meantime, let me know how we can make commuting sound like a good thing!

-Mike

 

Cupcakes that enhance my learning

It’s funny how a random idea that pops in your head during a shower can turn quickly into a reality.

As I stated before, I am majoring in communication and I am the vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I like to apply my major studies into my position.

In August, I was in my personal think space (my shower) and was brainstorming some cool ways to get the word out about USG. Then it hit me – cupcakes! I love Flirty Cupcakes on Taylor Street and I knew that there is a cupcake craze going on in the market. So I thought, hey, why don’t we talk to Flirty Cupcakes, get a custom USG cupcake and give them out to students in a promotional campaign?

I brought the idea to USG and I was happy to see everyone loved it. Under my office sits the Communications & Recruitment committee, so I had the committee work on the campaign. After some intense planning with Flirty Cupcakes and the committee, we were happy to introduce the “Cupcakes for Communication” campaign this past week.

The goal was to bring attention to USG, so we decided a great way to do this is to bring attention to our Facebook page and increase the number of “likes.” The committee and I decided that we would have students like our page, take a poll about what they feel is the best way USG can communicate with them, and then have them pick up a free cupcake at the Flirty Cupcakes dessert garage on Taylor Street.

We have been promoting this past week in several different ways – Facebook viral spread, a UIC massmail, an article in UIC News, flyer advertisements, and more. The response so far has been amazing and as of Thursday, our Facebook likes have more than tripled.

Everything that I have been doing with committee and in USG is the type of stuff that I live on. I think that one of the beauties of UIC is the fact that you are able to take what you learn and study in class and apply it the activities you partake in. UIC classes provide a good theoretical base for what you do in your future career, internships, etc. I know that one day the experience I am getting in this campaign will be valuable for future jobs once I graduate. As an added bonus, the cupcakes we’re going to be giving out on Monday are quite delicious.

Running campaigns like the “Cupcakes for Communication” make me appreciate the work and learning I get here at UIC. I am beyond thrilled to see the turnout at the event and the happy, cupcake-loving faces on Monday. Next week I will share with you all the final turnout!

If you’re interested in a cupcake from USG and Flirty Cupcakes, please visit our Facebook page for more information.

Until next time…

Mike

 

Getaways at UIC

Continuing on from the stress theme from last week, I found myself exhausted at times again this week. But I found another nice getaway – somewhere here on campus.

I needed to find a nice place to take a break during my hectic day Tuesday. Luckily, one of my classes got out early so I went outside to brainstorm where to go. I had no urgent work to do so I didn’t want to go to the library or my office. After a little thinking, I saw the outside platform with seating on the 2nd floor of BSB. Bingo! There were very few students out there so it was the perfect place to sit down and just bask in the beautiful autumn weather. The space is pretty open and has some seating to eat your lunch or just sit and listen to music. I used the time to call a friend who goes to college in another state.

Finding the nice area made me realize there is actually a good amount of quiet and decent spaces at UIC to relax. Besides the terrace at BSB, there’s a couple of more places I want to share with you all:

  • Grant Hall Language Oasis - In Grant Hall 308 you will find this cool social space that is part of the Sandi Port Errant Language and Culture Learning Center. This is also a part of Project Oasis and it is equipped with a flat-screen TV and comfortable chairs. Plenty of students come here throughout the day to meet with friends or to start a conversation in a foreign language with other students.
  • University Hall Port Center Lounge - Located on the 2nd level of UH, the Port Center Lounge is the location for peace and quiet. Most students, faculty and staff retreat to this lounge to do some homework, make a quick phone call, knock off their shoes or eat their lunch. This lounge was also part of the Project Oasis and is a wonderful addition to University Hall. You’ll be sure to enjoy the modern and serene atmosphere. The best part is the comfortable seating and the cool glass floor in some sections.
  • Behavioral Sciences Building 3rd floor - On the this level of BSB you will find another place brought to you by Project Oasis. The area quickly catches your eye when you visit the building. Lighting is plentiful in the area and abstract artwork is showcased. There’s also colorful furniture and seating available. Students come to eat their lunches or work on group projects on the staircase. This pleasant oasis is one of the project’s best.
  • Student Recreation Facility - No, this is not a photo of an apartment. This is a lounge that is located on the 2nd floor of the Student Recreation Facility! What some may say is hidden, the area has desks for students to work on homework and has plenty of comfy chairs and couches to relax on. You can even watch some TV during your break! You’ll feel like you’re home here.

 

I highly encourage all of you to check these places out when you have some down time. Let me know how your relaxation goes!

Stress, stress, stress!

Boy did I learn a great deal about time management this past week. I’m in my junior year now…by now you’d think it would be much easier!

I’ve mentioned I have a loaded schedule this semester…16 credit hours, an internship, student government and working around 15 hours a week. I’m halfway through and now I’m really feeling the pressure.

Don’t get me wrong — I genuinely enjoy everything I am doing this semester (minus a class) and am doing everything exceptionally well. However, it can be daunting trying to maintain a life outside of academics. Time to relax, spend time with family or friends, or to just be alone and breathe.

This week was so exhausting not only mentally, but physically also. I’m always on the go. It was a real wake-up call Thursday night when all I wanted to do was lay down in my room with my phone and technology FAR FAR away from me.

Thankfully, I was able to bounce back up from this stressful week and able to realize my shortcomings. I’m going to share with you all some things that help me out when I’m exhausted and fried. It may not work for you as well as it does for me, but one of the things I learned in college is that it is important to find the things that really lift your spirits and allow you to relax and use them whenever you’re in need. Here is what helps me:

  • A little peace.

    Closed room, incense, ambient music: One of the perks of commuting is that I have my own room all to myself. If you have the luxury to have your own place, I find it relaxing to just close the bedroom door and lay in the dark. I also like to light some incense or a candle and put on some ambient/New Age music. The aromatherapy and spatial noises allow me to put away my thoughts, enjoy the present time and come out of my room ready to take on the world.

  • “I…I…I…I..I work out!”: It’s always liberating when I am able to squeeze in some cardio time at the gym. I usually go the UIC gym or my local one. I also love to go in the sauna, sit pretzel-style, close my eyes and destress! I’m sure it makes me seem like a weirdo, but it’s the little things that help me out. The gym and sauna release my tensions and I leave the building feeling ah-mazing.
  • Talking to family/friends: Whenever life gets chaotic or if I just need a good chat, I love calling up a friend or talking to a family member. I find it hard to squeeze time in to go get coffee or meet up in the middle of the week, but just being able to pick the phone up (not text) and call someone to talk will make you feel great. Like I said, it’s the small things that make everything better.

I really hope all of you are able to find or know of somethings that help you detox and destress. We’re at the half-point mark of the semester, so hold on — we’re almost near break!

The True UIC Experience

Last week I talked about stepping back and taking a breath. This past week, I was able to step back and look at situations from another point of view — and this is going to impact our student body. It also made me realize the true value of combining extracurricular involvement and good studies at UIC.

As Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), I was able to attend the American Student Government Association (ASGA) national conference in Washington, D.C., from September 27-30th. The conference allowed me to really understand the tremendous impact that USG, and I, can have on our student body.

I attended various workshops at the conference that aimed to help student leaders examine problems at their campus and the best way to respond to them and apply theory and practice to campus. Since my career goal is to be in the field of public relations and my role in USG entails PR, I attended a workshop on PR with student bodies. The speaker really taught me the ways to effectively reach out to the student body at UIC. One sweet idea I was able to exchange with other campus leaders particularly stuck out to me — how cool would it be for USG members to drive a golf cart around campus and take students from class to class while all the meanwhile discussing with them about what they want to fix in the university? Something so fun can have such a big impact! All it takes is creative theory and practice.

The conference also made me realize that I wouldn’t be as successful in USG without the solid background of studies in Communication and Management that I have taken at UIC. The true experience of UIC is a true statement of the university — every student should partake in organizations on campus and really apply what they learn to whatever area of interest they have. Only then will you get the full UIC feel. I may come off as a “nerd” saying that, but I wholeheartedly believe in it. The role of USG is to be student advocates and representatives of the undergraduate student body. The workshop helped me realize the importance of this not only for us, but for students as a whole. We have the power to really make a difference in the university as long as we take a step back, analyze a situation and proceed with innovative ways to go about making change in the university.
I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to attend the ASGA conference. Now, I’m even more ready to use my creativity, apply it to different ways of communication and representation of the student body, and making good use of education and time at UIC!

Wait…I’m Half-Way Done With College?

Two years ago I was a freshman on a train on my way to classes at UIC for the first time. Today, I’m 20 years old, in my junior year of college.

Let me introduce myself – the name is Mike Queroz and I am now a junior here at UIC. I am majoring in Communication and minoring in Managerial Skills. I hope to be involved in the some type of media or corporate public relations management after I graduate in May 2014.

Me!

I’d like to say I have made the most of my time in college so far. Since I came to UIC I’ve been heavily involved on campus. I’ve been a part of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) since freshman year and I am currently in my second term as the Vice President. In USG I’ve done some amazing things like lobby in Springfield and co-organize the Undie Run. Last year, I was also a social media intern for the Office of Sustainability and wrote for HerCampus UIC.

I feel like now is one of those times I’m going to have to take a step back. Not only do I have junior-level classes this semester and my Vice President duties in USG, but I’ve added on a couple of more things, too! I was able to snag a great internship at a record label this semester and have also took on a part-time job doing childcare. Yeah, yikes! However, I’ve been managing well so far and just have to keep my head in the game of success.

But I’m ready to go full force at it, and I know that I want all of you to go along this journey to success with me. On the way, I hope to share with you all some of the things I’ve learned (and I am learning) on how to succeed at UIC.

As Chris Brown would say…”Leeeeggo!”

Some members of USG and I (far left) in Springfield talking to Rep. Ken Dunkin

 

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