Distributed Mentor Project 2004

Chelsea Robertson

Life in Evanston

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10

Week 1 May 24 - May 29

Lake Shore

Lake Michigan


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 stay long.

Week 2 May 30 - June 05

Engelhart Hall

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.

Week 3 June 06 - June 12

Evanston Hospital

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 week.

Week 4 June 13 - June 19

The El

Amanda's website

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".

Week 5 June 20 - June 26

My dorm room

View from the Sky Deck

Wynonna Judd

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.

Week 6 June 27 - July 03

Brad Paisley

Coyote Ugly

Wrigley Field

Amanda and Lauren

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 them.

Week 7 July 04 - July 10

Fourth of July

Northwestern Beach

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 dinner.

Saturday we relaxed a bit and were finally able to go to the beach again! :) Hopefully the nice weather will stay for a while.

Week 8 July 11 - July 17

Soccer game

A normal night in the dorm

Navy Pier

Boat Ride Pictures

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 was expectiing!

Week 9 July 18 - July 24

Random dorm fun

Amanda, Lauren, and me

Hanging out in the bathroom

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 walking/running/biking.

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.

Week 10 July 25 - July 30

Baby skunk

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 week.

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.