Top 5 places to nap at UIC’s East Campus


Some people see a couch, I see a mid-day respite. (which is the same thing)


Everyone has a busy schedule. It seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get all of your classes, studying, workouts, work shifts, extracurriculars, and social life commitments done in 24 hours. Usually a single day involves some sleep, right? Sometimes you just need to crash wherever and whenever possible. Here’s my top 5 places to nap at UIC’s East Campus. (You should feel lucky that I’m sharing this information with you)



1. Newman Center

The Newman Center is the youth Catholic center on campus. It hosts mass every day. Catholic or not, the Newman Center is open for use for everyone. It has a multitude of couches and seats that are pretty empty the majority of the day. Being a church, it will most likely be quiet, so your naps will be uninterrupted.

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5 Tips To Stay Motivated During Syllabus Week — and My Personal Back To School Playlist

uic.jpgUIC’s Brutalist architecture might be unique in Chicago, but it doesn’t mean it’s attractive. University Hall looks like a giant air conditioner.

Hey, how’s it going? Matt Cuartero here.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to welcome you to my blog here at UIC Radio: M4 – Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox (although I do not always release on Mondays exclusively). I answer viewer’s submitted questions, and I also like to write about the military, music, video games, and track and field. I also do reporting on school events from time to time. If you’re returning to UIC, welcome back to another great year; thank you for joining me again. If you’re a first year student here, I welcome you too. I hope you’ll find Chicago an exciting city to be in.

With a new year comes new classes, responsibilities, and opportunities. It also comes with what I like to call “Warm Up Season”. I don’t know about you guys, but the first few weeks of school are always my laziest. I don’t know; until I realize that classes are getting serious (usually I am notified by this with a bad grade) I take a long time to get into action and really buckle down on studying. I wanted to provide you with a plan of attack of my own to hit the ground running and get the jump on the semester before it gets a jump on you. Some say the most important part of the semester is the very beginning and I would agree with that.

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The Daily Blend’s April Top Ten 2018

april blog pic

Wassuppppppppp everyone! IT’S FINALLY NICE OUTSIDE, WHAT A CONCEPT! I am so excited that it is finally warm and also that new good music is being released! This month’s edition of my music library is full of new releases, both released this month and this year. Keep reading if you’re wondering if certain albums made it on the list. Also, PS, sorry for this being later than I usually do this blog; not only has April been a good month for new music, but also it has been the busiest month of my entire year.

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Sea Stories V – High School Sweethearts and Best Friends


I made it to my bed (or rack, as it was now called) the night of the Moment of Truth. My division was sleep-deprived for 49 long hours. I’m pretty sure I saw the utensils at the galley swing-dancing in front of me; that’s how tired and cracked I was. In the 49 hours I had been at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command, my division got off those coach buses in the middle of the night, we spent hours getting our gear issued, getting our hair buzzed off, and going through hours of paperwork. On top of that, we ate 5 times at the galley, we spent time cleaning the head, (bathroom) we spent time stenciling our gear, and we received initial medical checkups. It was due time for sleep. The recruit division commanders were giving us 8 full hours of sleep, and our new temporary home was at the USS Red Rover. (It’s not actually a ship. It’s just a building named after one). Lying face up in my rack, I thought about my last day, right before the Navy.


I wanted to cry for her to see, but I didn’t as well. It was strange.


It was only that evening we were watching Silver Linings Playbook. We cuddled and hugged each other until it was time to leave. We didn’t watch Ant Man with her parents that night, either.

It was only that afternoon we were sitting on the balcony of her house, reading some book about palm reading. I didn’t agree with her choices of what I was in a hand. It was only that morning we went out for breakfast, and we had one of our last meals together. At least the last one I spent taking her out. We switched cars to her driving after breakfast. I felt pretty happy in her arms.

“I love you.” She said back to me, parking the car in my driveway. “I shouldn’t say that, but I don’t know any other love like you. I wish we had more time, too.”

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Going Through Gay Puberty in a Conservative Community

This is the first installment of a multi-part series detailing my experiences during the initial realization of my sexuality at twelve years old and the subsequent struggles I endured because of it. Capturing these moments is a difficult and extremely emotional process for me. I hope at least some of you will read along and find something worthwhile. – Trev


Part I: Sitting on the Edge of Heaven

Self discovery can be a tremendously beautiful and illuminating experience. It is a time when a young person chisels the brilliantly unique sculpture that is their identity, sharing characteristics with many others yet somehow amalgamating into one that is wholly its own. I remember the initial joy I felt: pure, unreserved. An abundance of internal confetti rained down as all the various parts of my self united for a toast over a grand celebration of realized soul. Recognizing a personal talent, experiencing a first kiss, discovering a taste in music or a sense of fashion; there are few processes on this Earth as manifestly beautiful and natural as this. Left to its default, this time can contain some of the most glorious experiences in a person’s life. For some, this is exactly the case. For others, such as myself, the party gets busted. This is more in the sense of a malicious raid conducted by abusers of authority rather than justice being brought upon some obstreperous breakers of law. It didn’t start out awful, however.

My development began like anyone else’s. Eighth grade was the year I discovered a significant amount of myself, especially the sexual components, while the previous three were mainly focused on basic survival. Middle school was a mostly dark and treacherous tunnel of an experience, but eighth grade would emerge as the beaming light at the end of it. It’s not that I was brutally shoved into lockers or stricken with abject poverty. Materially and externally, I recognize that I’ve lived a relatively fortunate life. My assaults have been almost exclusively emotional in nature. These, of course, range from the minor to the more substantial. For an example of the former, when it came time for the rather inclusive fifth grade Christmas play, yours truly was honored with the role of the most corpulent character in all the land: Santa Claus.

Getting stuck with the part of Crisco Kringle can be attributed to my being quite portly in those days. Upon receiving the role, I was distinctly told by my teacher that we would place, “… a pillow or something,” under the tawdry, red outfit when the time came, because of course I hadn’t been typecast for being the plumpest pupil in the room. Needless to say, come showtime, it became quite clear that my designation was based on fitting the costume more than the role. After getting dressed I asked about the proposed padding only to be met with a terse, “I think we’ll be okay.” Yep. So this festive Humpty Dumpty rolled his jolly, fat ass onto that stage and gave it his all, sans pillow or dignity. It’s worth noting that I don’t have much red in my wardrobe to this very day, as if the mere sight of it irritates me, like some kind of bulimic bull. This is still far less direct than the time my seventh grade history teacher recommended I try out for shot put because I was, ‘nice and stout,’ (to this day I get triggered when perusing selections of beer) followed by derisive chuckling by both he and my supposed “best friend” at the time. Both at home and within those halls, these sorts of minor aggressions would be consistent but trivial compared to the larger tribulations to come.

General body dysmorphia aside, by eighth grade I had started eating better and moving more. Turns out self-hatred can be somewhat of a motivator, at least temporarily. Point is, I was feelin’ myself. I had an unprecedented level of confidence and comfort towards school, in part because that prepubescent, transitional phase where kids are desperate to prove their maturity and value against increased competition had simmered down. People had on the whole chilled the f*ck out, at least until next year, when we’d once again be launched into the bottom of a feral, hormonal wilderness. It was at this time I also started to recognize my attraction to other boys. In the earliest stages, before feelings left the unnoticed, background hum of subconscious and entered the frontal realm of labels and suppositions, these feelings granted me nothing short of unadulterated bliss. Crushes developed, boners boned as my overly naive mind navigated itself through exciting, new territory. All of this culminated into a moment where I was taking care of the placement of teachers’ mail per my duties as an ‘office assistant.’ (This willingness to please and assist authority would come to plague my development more than anything else.) Staring into a name tag-covered wall of schlocky, wooden cubes, my internal monologue reached it’s breaking point. Just say it. Admit it to yourself. Aloud, alone, I resigned and whispered, “I’m gay.”

In this instant I actually smiled. There was no feeling of wickedness or vice. Once the word had materialized, however, it was a short amount of time before indoctrinated judgement cast its dark, unloving shadow. My party got busted. The scratching sound of needle being abruptly ripped from vinyl pierced through the room as men in uniform despotically kicked down my doors of self, barking and breaking as the joy was replaced with fear and the celebrating turned to living nightmare. Such is often the experience of being gay in rural America. Much like the figurative festivity, the risk of continued disruption is usually mitigated by relocation, ideally to places that honor the separation of foliage and fashion. I tabled the problem at hand for the time being.

Over the following weeks and months I endured internal warfare. Images of the scaly, smelly flesh of demons that had been taught to my obsessive compulsive mind since I was six flooded my spirit. Shrieks of anguished and aflame dis-obeyers served as the soundtrack to what was supposed to be a formative and wonderful period of my life. The invisible crusade raged on until, one night, I decided to call upon the One I had been taught to in times like this. I knew what I was feeling was wrong, but I didn’t actually feel wrong. I also knew that I loved God very, very much, and I wanted all of his love in return. So, amidst the backdrop of another unnervingly still, Midwestern night, feeling as small as I ever had, I seated my twelve year old self on the edge of my bed. With desperation and incertitude, I held my clammy, adolescent hands together and spoke to him, aloud, “God, if there is any way, any way at all for you to love me the way I am, please do. Please, show me that you do.” There was no response. I remained confused and alone, waiting for God to love me. Waiting for permission to love myself.

Trev Richards is host of the weekly talk program Trev on UIC Radio; Live, Wednesdays 8:30 – 10:30 PM Central Time. Follow/listen on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud

Why It’s Okay To Be A Little (Or A Lot) Lost

I don’t mean lost like your mom was just in front of you at Target but you saw something shiny that looked cool and went to check it out. Now you can’t find her and you’re wondering if you’ll ever get home to finish the food you left in your fridge and start thinking about how much you’d miss your mom. Then you realize you’re lost and hey where are those nice ladies that help you find your parents at stores or hey where’s the lost and found? You’re wandering around Target realizing there is no lost and found. Damn, your mom is gonna be pissed that her 12 year old still gets distracted by shiny things and can’t keep up with her because we just came to Target for one thing and have to get home so she doesn’t miss her show. *exhales*


I mean lost like you’re uncertain with what you plan to do in the upcoming years. I know in highschool around junior and senior year many of my classmates were asking how am I supposed to know what I want to do with my life at only 18 years old? Some knew the career path they’d choose in college, others weren’t so sure. At 17, being a senior I didn’t think about the future, I thought “let future Catherine worry about it” I didn’t even see myself in college. But when I got accepted to UIC I was excited, and felt like I had to automatically know what career I’d pursue.

At first I thought I’d go into the Business field because I knew I wanted to own a record store sometime in the future. However, after a semester in the business major I knew it wasn’t for me, I thought “what the hell am I doing here?” It was always clear to me that I loved English and writing, so I thought the obvious choice was to become a teacher. I went from a Business major to an English major and then Teaching of English major in only my first year at UIC. Finally I know what I’ll do for the rest of my life I thought.

But recently, I’ve found myself interested in other subjects like Psychology. I considered switching to a Psychology major but what if I don’t think that’s for me either? I’m told I have time to decide, I’m only 19 but it feels like the clock is ticking. I’ll be a junior soon, then a senior and before I can even catch my breathe I’ll be graduating. It doesn’t feel like there’s time to decide anymore. If I don’t put this degree to good use, it would have been a waste of time and money. It may not disappoint others that I chose a different career path than the one I spent so much time studying, but it’ll be a disappointment to me. All I know for certain at this moment is that I love writing and music. But, I don’t know what I want to do with these passions anymore. I was feeling really doubtful, and disappointed in myself. While also feeling a bit lost and scared. I thought I was the only one who wasn’t 100% sure anymore.


Ofcourse this feeling doesn’t just apply to highschool or college students. To those working 2 jobs, full time, part time – props to you. Similarly, we might be feeling like we’re at a stand still, a routine; this happens many times in our lives. When I get bored with routine, I take it as a sign I need to do something for me: dye my hair, get a new piercing or new tattoo, a complete day off with my friends. If you don’t feel like walking around with blue hair, just know that 5 or 6 months from now, a year from now, this lousy feeling may be nothing but a memory. You’ll look back and wonder why you were so down on yourself. As cheesy as it may sound hard work really does pays off.

But you know what? I’m 19, a sophomore in college and I’m not 100% sure what I want to do with the rest of my life and that’s more common than we think. What we need to remind ourselves when this happens is that: IT’S OKAY. As a good friend reassured me, “Honey, all you have to be by the age of 23 is yourself.”


Project: Vision-A Quick Shout-Out

Image result for project: vision

I have spent the last few weeks racing back and forth between UIC campus and Chinatown, working as a tutor at this incredible organization called Project: Vision. All this racing has kept me quite busy, so this week’s blog will be a short and un-researched one.

Project: Vision is an after-school, non-profit tutoring center. All the families that register their kids don’t pay any fee, and students are welcome Monday through Saturday until seven PM. Weekend seminars in topics like financial literacy and tax help are even offered for parents and community members.

The only catch is that each student must participate in one of the service projects offered three times a semester. Usually, all our students are excited to sign up and travel with their friends to Chicago’s parks and beaches and help out. The staff look forward to Service Saturdays, too!

P:V’s tutors can help students from 6th to 12th grade with all subjects, including the dreaded AP’s, test prep, and study and reading strategies. We often work with English language learners in conversation hours. Not every student has a quiet place to do homework or peers to ask for help. Many don’t actually have a safe place to spend time after school when mom and dad are still at work. This is where P:V steps in; you don’t have to be struggling with homework to spend an afternoon at the center. Even when CPS closes for the teacher’s strike (as will happen next week on October 11th), P:V will be open for business for students to come and study, read, or play learning games.

Strike or session, rain or shine. I’m incredibly proud to work for this service, and if you have fallen in love with its description, we just so happen to be hiring. Click literally any of these words to learn more.

Have a Scien-tastic day!

Ways to Help you Deal with Stress

Ahhhhhh midterms are coming up. The anxiety, stress and fear is common for all of us during this time in our life.

Trying to study everything from the beginning to the semester up until now can cause a lot of pressure on us regardless if:

You’re a freshman trying to start off the year strong with a good GPA OR

You’re a second semester senior who’s trying to graduate without the fear of failing a mandatory class in your last semester.

Being halfway done with college, I’m in the same boat. Stress can get the better of us, but don’t let it beat you down.


There are so many ways to tackle stress, but there are a few things that I personally find helpful whenever stress starts to overwhelm me:

  • Doodling. College is challenging and it feels like there’s no time to have fun anymore when you’re studying for what seems like forever. Simply taking a crayon and coloring or even doodling can help you relax and lets you forget about whatever you were so stressed about in the beginning.
  • Exercise. Yes, it is scientifically proven that exercise makes you feel better. Your body will start to produce endorphins and they help reduce stress.
  • Dark Chocolate! Who knew candy could actually be good for you? That’s right, eating dark chocolate helps the body calm down and reduce stress, so dig in 🙂
  • Finally, Sleep plays an important role as well. Not getting enough sleep is harmful to your body, especially when you are stressed, so at times it is okay to take a nap and to forget about the worries for a little while. You’ll calm down, I promise 🙂

That’s all for now! Good luck on midterms everyone!


Till next time,



A Resolution Not on Your List

I feel that break flew by, at least mine did, and here we are jumping into second semester already. This could be one of many semesters for many of you out there. For me though, its luckily and sadly enough, my last semester as an undergraduate.

One thing I have been thinking about constantly is what I will end up doing after I graduate. But more importantly than that, what am I looking forward to do? And that’s what I want to ask you as a reader.

Most people look forward to work, continue school, find an internship, etc… which are all things I have also been once consumed with as well. But the question remains, have you purposefully thought of going somewhere? Traveling? Discovering? Temporarily stepping outside your known world?

This is one task you should have on your to do list this year. Don’t let your lives be consumed with the everyday hustle and bustle. Don’t rob yourself of your days and time without making time to go further into discovering yourself. Change your settings, at least temporarily. Plan a trip somewhere, even if its to your neighboring state.

“Travel is supposed to be about a departure from the familiar. Whether the setting is the parched Kalahari Desert or the barrel-vaulted space of a Florentine cathedral, the point is to relinquish your everyday self to new surroundings and a new context. But there is another journey; one in which self knowledge is the very goal, with the route and even the destination secondary to that pursuit.” – Condé Nast, Travel

So where will you be? What will you be looking forward to this semester? Or perhaps during this semester? What stories will you bring back?

Monday Madness Will Cure Your Insanity

Just like finishing the last slice of chocolate cake, all good things must come to an end. And if you’re a UIC student, that means starting this coming Monday winter break is over and it’s back to the grind.


As much as I may dread the homework and getting up early, it’s probably a good thing that I will no longer be spending the majority of my day eating candy at 9 am and drinking by myself while watching old Mary-Kate & Ashley videos.


Time to see your friends again! (Or if you’re a commuter, that one homeless guy that’s always on your 8 am train.)  Time to use your brain for chemistry equations instead of how many drinks you can throw back before 2 am!


If you’re involved with UIC activities, you get to see this guy again doing this:




And this:




And this:





Compared to the boring adult stuff we will have to begin after graduation, college ain’t so bad. So come Monday, grab that grande coffee from Starbucks and go to class – after all, school won’t last forever.


And just because I’ve been annoying everyone with this song, I thought I’d share it here. What’s worse than “The Fox” song?


“The Fox” song sung by kids. Happy Thursday!