Distributed Mentor Project 2004
Life in Evanston
I knew this summer was going to be an experience when I
arrived at the airport at 7 am and found out my flight was cancelled. After
booking the next available flight to Chicago, which was leaving about 4
hours later, I decided to go home and go back to sleep. I went back to the
airport a few hours later to find my new flight was delayed. After a few
more delays, I was finally headed to Chicago. I arrived at the airport and
found the shuttle service I would be taking to my dorm in downtown Chicago.
They are still in school at Northwestern and there is no housing available
on the Evanston campus, so I will be living on the Chicago campus for the
first 4 weeks.
My room isn't the greatest, but I'm in a great location
and have a good view of the lake. It is exciting and overwhelming to be
living in the city, since I've rarely been to any big cities, let alone
live in one. Chicago is really nice; it's a big city, but its also right
on Lake Michigan so there are lots of beaches. :) With all the flight
delays, I arrived too late to meet with Justine on Monday.
I made it to the Evanston campus without a problem on
Tuesday, but getting back to the city is another story. I got onto the
wrong campus shuttle and got dropped off where the intercampus shuttle was
supposed to stop. However, it didn't come for a really long time and I was
getting nervous because I wasn't familiar with this part of campus. So I
found my way back to the original stop and waited for the next shuttle,
which never came. I decided to take the "EL", the train, back to the city.
So three hours later I was back downtown. Of course I got out of the train
station and didn't know which way to go. Luckily, I have a wonderful sense
of direction (yeah right) and picked the right way. By Thursday, I found
the correct shuttle stop and made it back downtown without a problem.
Friday night I went to Water Tower Place because it was
my homework assignment all week from Justine. It is a huge mall, and of
course when I went, everything was closed. On Saturday I went back to Water
Tower Place and looked around, but I was starting to get sick so I didn't
I was planning on going to the Memorial Day parade, but I
felt really sick all weekend. Justine invited me to stay at her house until
I was feeling a little better. So she picked me up Monday afternoon. We
made a couple stops on the way, Water Tower Place and Navy Pier, so she
could show me around a little.
I felt pretty sick all week, with a really high fever and
lots of coughing. I finally went to health services on Thursday because I
wasn't getting better. I guess that isn't to surprising, considering they
diagnosed me with pneumonia.
All the while, Justine and some others were working on
finding me a place to stay on the Evanston campus. My mom flew in on Friday
to take care of me. :) After she arrived, Justine's drove us to my old
place, and we packed up my stuff and moved. So now I am living in the
graduate student building.
I am still very sick with pneumonia. I spent the weekend
in bed and watching tv in the lounge, with my mom taking care of me. Monday
night I noticed I was getting a rash on my face. This was an allergic
reaction to the antibiotic they gave me at health services.
On Tuesday, Justine and my mom decided I should go to the
emergency room. So I went and was admitted into the hospital. I spent the
next week there, and it was not fun. I had an IV pumping fluids into me and
blood drawn at least once a day. The doctors thought I might have something
else in addition to pneumonia. I had lots of other tests done, but they
didn't find anything. Needless to say, I didn't do any research this
I was released from the hospital on Monday!! I am still
coughing a little, and I'm still very weak. I get tired really easily,
which isn't fun.
Amanda arrived on Monday as well. She is also working
with Justine for the summer. To find out about Amanda's experience check
out her website (link to the left). I am really excited because I won't be
alone and I finally have someone to hang out with. Amanda moved in with
me on Wednesday morning. We will be staying together until Sunday, then we
are moving to singles in the undergraduate dorms.
It's been interesting trying to find dinner every night.
Since neither of us are very familiar with Evanston, we have been going
downtown and walking around until we find someplace to eat. On Saturday we
went to the Taste of Randolph Street. We took the "EL", which is a CTA
train that goes downtown, and it took forever! We actually found Randolph
Street without too much trouble, thanks to Amanda. She was in charge of
directions for the trip. Once we got there, we walked around, ate some
food, people watched, and saw a pretty good band called "The M's".
On Sunday, Justine helped us move into the dorms. We
are living across the hall from eachother, and share a bathroom with
another girl named Lauren. She is a Northwestern student, but she is
working downtown for the summer.
Amanda needed to buy sheets for her bed because
dorm beds are longer, and suprisingly, there is no place to buy bed sheets
in this college town! So, Amanda and I headed downtown on the "EL" express
in search of a Linens 'n Things or Bed, Bath & and Beyond, whichever we
could find first. So she bought her bedsheets and then we went to this Thai
place for dinner. It was really good and cheap, always a plus!
Tuesday night we went in search of dinner and groceries.
Apparently all the dining places on campus close at 7 pm, and we didn't end
up leaving the lab till 7:30. So we headed to the "closest" grocery store,
hoping to find dinner on the way, but we didn't. The "closest" grocery
store ended up being at least a 30 minute walk, which is fine, but not when
you have to carry everything you buy. So we bought about one bag of food
each, and began our journey back to the dorm.
My parents drove here on Friday. It took a lot longer
than they expected, so we just went out to dinner. Saturday, we went to the
Sky Deck (103rd floor) of the Sears Tower. It was really cool to be looking
down at all the buildings. Then we went to the Taste of Chicago. It started
this weekend and goes through next weekend. This weekend was also the
Country Music Festival. Chicago has lots of free festivals and activities
all summer long. Since my dad is into country music, we went to see
Wynonna Judd perform on Saturday.
Sunday we went back to the Country Music Festival to see
Brad Paisley perform. We also saw some more of downtown Chicago. We
stopped at Coyote Ugly and Wrigley Field. I really want to go to a Cubs
game but they are all sold out! :( Monday night we went to this huge outlet
mall about a half hour away. Tuesday was my birthday!! :) Amanda has been
sick, so we took her to the emergency room. Unfortunately Amanda couldn't
join us, but my parents and I went out to dinner to celebrate.
The coolest thing about Northwestern is that there is a
beach right on campus, and I finally went on Thursday! It was so nice, I
can't wait to go back.
Saturday Lauren, Amanda, and I were planning on going
downtown to go to the Taste of Chicago and see the fireworks, but it rained
all day. We ended up going out to lunch and trying to see the fireworks from
the beach by campus. It wasn't very clear out so we couldn't really see
On Sunday Amanda, Lauren, and I went to see the fireworks
at the beach. They were a lot better then I was expecting, so that was a
plus! But it made me miss being home for the 4th because my family always
gets together at my house.
After work on Thursday Amanda and I took the "EL"
downtown. We met up with Lauren and went to the Cheesecake Factory for
Saturday we relaxed a bit and were finally able to go to
the beach again! :) Hopefully the nice weather will stay for a while.
Sunday everyone from the lab went to Soldier Field for a
double header of soccer. The first game was USA vs. Poland and the second
was the Chicago Fire vs. the New England Revolutions. The first game was
really exciting. Apparently Chicago has one of the largest Polish
communities, so there were tons of crazy fans for Polska (Poland)!! The US
ended up tying the game 1-1 with about 2 minutes left. It was very
exciting! We stayed for the first half of the Fire game, but it wasn't
nearly as exciting. It also ended up being a 1-1 game.
Tuesday night we all got together at Justine's for a
pizza making party. It was a lot of fun, and the pizza was good. It was
nice to eat a home cooked meal for once. I'm getting sick of eating out
every night for dinner.
My sister came to visit for the weekend! She arrived
Friday night, and we went out to dinner. We wanted to go see Spiderman 2,
but it was sold out, so we just hung out for the night. On Saturday we took
the "EL" downtown. We went to Navy Pier and went on an architectural boat
ride. It was really cool to see the city from Lake Michigan. Then we went
to the Magnificent Mile and walked around. The Magnificent Mile is a mile
along Michigan Ave. that is a ton of stores and expensive shops. The Water
Tower Place mall is part of the Mile, so we checked that out too. Later
that night we went to ComedySportz. It is an improv competition between two
teams of comedians, who perform a series of scenes and songs, based on
suggestions from the audience. It was a lot of fun, much funnier than I
On Sunday my sister and I went to Jamba Juice to get a
smoothie...yummy. Then we headed to the beach for a bit! We went out to
lunch and then she had to leave. After she left I went for a bike ride around the
lakefill, its land between Lake Michigan and the lagoon on campus. It's a
great place to hang out and relax. There were tons of people laying out and
Nothing too exciting happened during the week. Amanda went
to NYC from Monday to Wednesday for the AAMAS conference.
Since this week was kind of boring, I will use this time to tell you about my
normal routine. I have to lift 3 times a week and do a track program 2 times
a week for volleyball. I obviously wasn't doing this while I was sick, so the
program has been difficult for me. Instead of getting stronger, I have been
trying to get back to where I was before I got pneumonia. I usually try to
get up early and go to the gym before work because it is a lot less crowded,
but most of the time I can't get out of bed. I really enjoy lifting; I find
it relaxing because I drift off into my own world and forget about everything
else that is going on. I'm not such a big fan of running though. I have
always found it difficult to run because I get bored very quickly. But now it
is especially tough because I get tired so easily.
We usually leave the lab around 6, so when we get back we
(Amanda, Lauren, and I) go out to dinner. We go out to eat because the
food is better, AND it is usually cheaper than the dining hall! Then at
night we usually just hang out or watch tv...nothing too
exciting. I've also been spending a lot of time studying for the GRE. I'm
getting really nervous about the whole grad school thing, and I'm scared to
take the GRE. :(
On Saturday, Amanda and I signed up to participate in a
psychology research experiment. We spent about two hours filling out surveys
and doing a few simple motor tasks and were each paid $40. We wanted to do one
earlier in the summer that paid $50, but unfortunately one of the requirements
was being right handed and we are both lefties.
Saturday night we went to friends of a friend of a friend's
apartment. Confusing, huh? They were friends from high school of a friend of Lauren,
as if that is less confusing. But anyway, they invited us over for dinner. It was
really good food, and nice to eat a home cooked meal. We had a lot of fun hanging out
and telling funny stories. Her friend's were really cool people. They both go to
Stanford and needed to take physics over the summer so they could study abroad. They
decided to go some place fun and ended up in Chicago for the summer.
Unfortunately this was Lauren's last day with us. When we got
back to the dorm we went outside and took some pictures.
||July 25 - July 30
Lauren left us early Sunday morning. It was really sad to see her
leave because we were finally getting to know each other better. :( Amanda and I went
out to dinner with some guys that live down the hall. It was a good time; we should
have gotten to know them sooner.
Wednesday night Amanda and I went out to dinner with a few undergraduate
computer science students from Northwestern. Thursday night we went out to dinner with the
guys from our hall again. Both were good times. I've slowly been packing up my stuff this
I can't believe my 10 weeks here are over. The time has gone by really
fast! Everyone in the lab is awesome, and I've had a lot of fun. It's been a great
experience being here and learning about grad school and research. But at the same
time, I'm really excited to spend a couple weeks at home.