Join hosts Dallas, Jezel, Aryn and Valentina as they discuss what to consider when committing to Northwestern as a first-generation, low-income (FGLI) student. They cover special programs like Student Enrichment Services (SES), what side of campus to live on, choosing a major and what it’s like being so close to a big city like Chicago.

Dallas: Hey everyone, this is Dallas Thurman.

Valentina: This is Valentina Parra.

Jezel: This is Jezel Martinez.

Aryn: And this is Aryn Honaker.

Dallas: And welcome back to DiscountEDU, a podcast where we talk about our experiences as FGLI, or first-generation low-income students at Northwestern.

Valentina: Yup in today's episode, we will be giving you our true, unfiltered thoughts on the university. It's gonna get messy.

Aryn: Oh, that's not...

Valentina: Okay, we're going to be sharing our perspectives for prospective students considering whether or not to commit to NU from a FGLI perspective.

Jezel: Let's get to it.

Valentina Parra: All right, what we think is most important. Maybe not. Is considering that Northwestern has a quarter system. Oh, someone just ran into the studio. You guys are not going to believe this. But there is a car inside of the library right now.

Aryn: Northwestern has a quarter system. We have three quarters though. Each 10 weeks. We have Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, and Spring Quarter. And things go by like way quicker than you would expect them to.

Valentina: We also have summer quarter–

Aryn: That some people they make the decision–

Valentina: There are four quarters.

Aryn: Yes.

Valentina: Because then it would be a trimester, Aryn Honaker.

Aryn: Ok my bad. I'm sorry I apologize. My mistake.

Valentina: We don't have to take summer.

Dallas: Yeah, most people decide to go home. And you should probably decide to go home as a freshman unless you want to do some special program like SIGP (Summer Internship Grant Program) or Bridge.

Valentina: But you can figure that out later. You don't have to get into that right now.

Jezel: I think as a freshman, it makes most sense to like, take a break in the summer because every quarter is exam season at Northwestern.

Dallas: Unless you secure that internship. I don't know how but unless you get a good internship then you should probably take the summer as a break. Yeah.

Valentina: However the summer before freshman year, something that will help you get into the quickness of things. Yeah–

Jezel: The pacing.

Valentina: Yeah, is doing summer programs that we really recommend. Cannot recommend Bridge enough. We love you Bridge team.

Dallas: You guys already know how much we love Bridge. Yeah, if you listened to our previous episode. So if you haven't, you should probably go do that.

Jezel: But there's also the Summer Academic Workshop or SAW.

Dallas: Yeah.

Jezel: And NU Bioscientists.

Valentina: I think that might be for sophomores actually, I don't know. But Bio&ChemEXCEL that's for incoming freshmen. That really helped us I think, when adjusting to the quarter system.

Dallas: Also, another piece of advice is to, like, really check for financial aid. Valentina, has something to say about that.

Valentina: I was scammed! I was scammed. You guys are not gonna believe me. But well, you have no reason to not believe me, I guess. But I got scammed by the university. So, check how much money they give you. And then check how much the school is actually going to be. Because what is an activity fee and why am I paying for it? And then different dorms cost different things. Not just like whether you got a single here or a single there are a double here or a double there. The different buildings differ. Well duh.

Dallas: You should figure out if you want to get a single, a double. I don't know if you can do a triple, well, maybe you can.

Valentina: Allison yeah.

Dallas: And or if you're living in like Lincoln, if you want three other roommates–

Valentina: Best dorm–

Dallas: The more roommates you have, the less you have to pay, but don't sacrifice the things that you want just so I don't know. Just so you have more money in your refund. Don't sacrifice the things that are close to you just do what you want.

Valentina: You never know if you're actually gonna get a refund because–

Jezel: Real.

Valentina: Because they scammed me.

Jezel: I think SES Winter Gear is like I don't think a lot of schools offer like a winter gear program so I think that's something that I really appreciate from Northwestern. So definitely if you're FGLI and you don't come from somewhere where it gets like negative 15 degrees. Definitely look into the SES winter gear program. It's the best.

Valentina: Yeah, you just do what is called the “One Form” obviously you don't have to worry about this right now because you are a prospective student and you're listening or just our fans. We know we have a lot of fans out there. Hi, beautiful fans. It's a really good resource. You have to remember that Northwestern is loaded. That endowment is heavy. She is endowed, Northwestern is endowed. You just have to learn how to look for these things. And the summer programs really help you navigate that. But if you don't want to do a summer program then this might help you come to Northwestern I don't know.

Dallas: Even if you don't want to do the summer program like you should do it because they have, I won't say they have money to waste, but they kind of do, because they're just giving out. Sometimes they give money in places where they shouldn't give as much money too. But that's when you learn how to cheat the system.

Valentina: Let's just say we ate good food. Sometimes.

Dallas: I would recommend taking advantage of any type of program that Northwestern has, because they're pretty lenient, in terms of like helping you get those financial resources that you need, for the most part.

Valentina: Yeah, they'll take you to Six Flags, but they won't give you the financial aid you deserve. Just kidding. I love you, Northwestern. Go Willie!

Dallas: Yeah.

Valentina: Another thing to keep in mind, Aryn will get into.

Aryn: Just keep in mind what school you apply to, for example, it's easier to transfer into Weinberg than it is to transfer out of Weinberg. So if you're on the fence about anything, you should probably pick whatever major is not in Weinberg, because you can easily transfer into it if you end up changing your mind.

Valentina: Yeah, I, when we were we're all journalism majors. But when we were applying, I remember they told us that it's easier to transfer out of Medill when you finish your freshman sequence, because then you can figure out if you want to stay in Medill or not, than it is to transfer in later in Medill, maybe your second year, third year, because you'd have to take the freshman year in classes I think. I'm actually not sure.

Aryn: I think you do.

Dallas: Yeah, I think you have to take like 201-1 and 201-2. Maybe not 202.

Valentina: Well yes. I don't know you, you don't even have to take 202 as a freshman.

Dallas: You don't?

Valentina: Well, you have, to but you shouldn't have to. Hot take. Well no, cold take, everyone thinks that.

Aryn: Speaking of the freshmen sequence for Medill, it's full of weeding classes. So like 201-1 and 201-2.

Dallas: We should explain what that is.

Aryn: Oh, yeah.

Valentina: Oh, yeah.

Aryn: 201-1 is like the writing and reporting class. And then 201-2 is like the video journalism. Well it kind of depends on the teacher you have and their rules and whatnot. But most people find it like a little difficult. You know, you have to go out and interview people. Kind of intimidating. But yeah, and obviously all the other schools tend to have weeding classes as well.

Valentina: Yeah, weed-out classes are real. And freshmen sequences can be a little crazy so when you're applying, well deciding which schools to go to, keep in mind, like all schools are gonna have weed out classes. But the one good thing well, one of the multiple beautiful things about the quarter system is that it's only 10 weeks. So you'll be done with that soon. And then you can take another class that's also weed out maybe.

Dallas: Also like a downside because the class can feel like it's going by super fast, like I don't know. Sometimes, like it feels good, but also it doesn't feel good at the same time. Like, “Oh, I hate this class.” But then they're like, “Oh, it's over in like two weeks”.

Valentina: Yeah. But it's not over until you take the horrible statistics final. I passed girl and now I'm taking really interesting classes. I'm taking called one called “Beyond Porn” with–

Dallas: Oh...I don't think we can say that. Can we?

Valentina: Well, it is a class. It's Global Health 221. And it's not actually about porn. It's like a sex ed class. But yeah, there are really interesting classes, you have to look for them make the most out of your time here.

Jezel: They have a Lana Del Ray class too, don't they?

Valentina: They do. I'm taking a class where they're giving us each disposable cameras like oooo.

Jezel: So I think it's important to like, consider your freshman sequence and balancing your schedule around knowing that you have to take weed out classes your first year.

Valentina: And it's fine. It's fine. You have to be humbled somehow.

Jezel: Also, the biggest advice for Medill is to stick it out through the freshman sequence.

Valentina: There are so many things to explore here at Northwestern University and if you're thinking about committing, one of the things you'll hear a lot is that Chicago is there.

Dallas: Yes.

Valentina: We don't go.

Aryn: That often.

Valentina: That often. Because the quarter system. Also it's cold.

Aryn: Especially Winter Quarter.

Valentina: Yeah.

Jezel: I think that definitely depends on the person though. So like, if you really want to like explore the city, that's definitely something you can do.

Valentina: It's very accessible. If you go during the week we have a shuttle called the Intercampus. And the Intercampus takes you to Chicago for free to like, as the name implies, the Chicago campus because there are two campuses. The Evanston campus is the undergrad one.

Dallas: Yeah, I would. I would recommend that you don't base your decision off of being near the city, because you’re never really gonna go unless you don't have hard classes or not even that, like if you have classes, it's just easier to stay in Evanston like Evanston's not a bad town. It's–

Valentina: Selling point.

Dallas: I would knock down your expectations of being like, Oh, I'm in Chicago, you are, but you're in Cook County, which is kind of Chicago. And I know a lot of people think, oh, Chicago, so, so violent, so so bad neighborhood, but honestly, in Evanston, it's one of the better neighborhoods that you can be in. So I would just say, to not base your decision off of being next to Chicago. It's a good thing, especially whatever major you're in, you can work at Northwestern’s hospital, there's a bunch of hospitals. Good exposure, if you're a journalist, or like CBS, ABC, all that stuff, but I would say focus more on the area that you will be in for the most part, which is Evanston. So I would base your decision more around Evanston itself, except for Chicago.

Valentina: But when Evanston looks a little boring. Remember, you do have Chicago.

Dallas: Yeah.

Valentina: We would go to shows. We saw some of our friends perform. When they would do gigs in Chicago. Shout out Misa. Did you guys go?

Aryn: I went.

Valentina: You went? Yeah.

Aryn: There's also a lot of museums if that's your thing.

Valentina: And they're free with your Wildcard so–

Aryn: Yes.

Valentina: Sometimes, when it matters. Yeah.

Dallas: Or if you're a Chicago resident. Or an Illinois resident I mean.

Jezel: Oh okay D money.

Valentina: All right, buddy. And it's not dangerous. Well, maybe I'm being ignorant. Well, I am from Tijuana.

Dallas: It's, it's dangerous, but it's unfair to say that it is when you're spending most of your time in Evanston. Yeah I would say consider it but you're not really even near any danger for real.

Valentina: Danger isn't even real.

Aryn: You should just focus on Evanston because that's where you're gonna be most of the time.

Valentina: Don't even focus on Evanston, focus on–

Dallas: Be cognizant, while you're out late at night, and don't take the Red Line at a certain time of night, just be smart. But being near Chicago, being in Chicago is not as dangerous as you think.

Valentina: Each school you go to, you have to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. This isn't just like at Northwestern. These systems weren't made for people like us, first generation, lower income, people of color, any marginalized backgrounds. So the support systems you build are essential. We can do this, we just have to put our well being first and find ways to navigate this because it can get tough, but we're tougher.

Dallas: Once you find your support system maybe you'll, if you come here, maybe you'll even start your own podcast.

Valentina: I was gonna say that!

Aryn: Wow.

Dallas: Yeah so just even though it might seem hard, just just keep going and picking like actually committing to a college might be difficult, but in the long run, it'll it'll benefit your life at some point, eventually.

Valentina: Eventually, it is also such a privilege for us to even be considering Northwestern. So we, I think all of us would advocate for choosing Northwestern we're kind of just sharing things to keep in mind as you choose a college but at the end of the day, it is your decision and we would love to see you here and if anyone is even listening. This is me if you if even care.

Dallas: And congratulations if you just got in.

Aryn: Yeah, congrats.

Jezel: Oh yeah.

Dallas: Regular decision or if you just committed or if you got into any summer program for Northwestern, like Cherubs or something like that. Congrats. You know, keep us in mind.

Valentina: Come say hi, we're kind, you can take a picture with us.

Aryn: Get our autographs–

Valentina: We don't do safety reasons–

Aryn: Oh! I do autographs.

Valentina: They sell them on eBay. We're so famous.

Jezel: Oh ok.

Valentina: That's it from us tonight guys. It is a night. Unless it isn't. It's 1:23. 123. Angel numbers. Well, no.

Aryn: Oh that's not...

Valentina: Angel numbers aren't real. This concludes the fourth episode of DiscountEDU.

Dallas: I'm Dallas.

Valentina: I'm Valentina.

Aryn: I'm Aryn.

Jezel: I'm Jezel.

Valentina: And we'll see you here next episode. Thanks for listening!

Dallas: Bye.

Aryn: Bye!