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.

Continue reading “5 Tips To Stay Motivated During Syllabus Week — and My Personal Back To School Playlist”

A laundry list of what to do during your winter break


(Above: not shredding the gnar.)


So, the 2017 fall semester is coming to an end. Many of us call Chicago home, while a good group of UIC students think that they are from Chicago but are really from the suburbs (such as myself).

After spending about four months at UIC, it is definitely nice to take a break and come home for the holidays to spend time with family and friends. Winter break officially begins on December 16th, 2017 and ends on January 16th, 2018. You might have some apprehension regarding not knowing what to do during break.

As do I.

Because humans really like to read lists, I have compiled a few things that will hold you over until the spring semester.

1. Get a job, you lazy bum. I recommend the seasonal positions for Mobile Sales Consultants at Best Buy, Cart Attendants at Target, or even working for the Pavilion at UIC. Maybe even sign up to be a lifeguard at your local outdoor waterpark.

2. Go snowboarding and SHRED THE GNAR!!!

Continue reading “A laundry list of what to do during your winter break”

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?

The Ramen Noodles of Life

Contradictions and college students are about as hard a combo to find as ramen in a cheap Mexican grocery store. I’m sure you all run into a lot of the same dilemmas I do while struggling through the last few semesters for that diploma:


“Do I graduate on time…or actually care about my major?”

“Do I work extra hours to pay tuition…or show up for class?”

“Do I work on my skills…or do homework?”

It almost seems like school keeps me from learning the things I want to do for the rest of my life. Weird, right? I mean, between grocery-shopping, cruising the Blue Line and panicking whenever SafeAssign decides not to recognize my Word docs; not to mention juggling a part-time job and trying to make it to the gym once in a while, I just don’t have the time to work on the things I’m passionate about. Who knew that learning could get in the way of…well, learning!

But maybe it’s just me. All I know is, I’m not planning to always live on those four chicken-and-cardboard noodles for a dollar, or get stuck in a 9-5 and still miss out on the life I’d put on hold until after graduation. What about my trip to India or learning to ride a motorcycle? What about random free-form poetry in a hole-in-the-wall hipster coffee shop or people-watching at the ‘face fountain’?

My point is, maybe it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t graduate summa cum laude. Believe me, the hours I spend sweating about raising my GPA by a couple of micro-points is probably about equal to my part-time job. It’s disgusting. Haven’t we been told time and time again that no one in this economy cares about grades? Ok, that may not be strictly true, but we all know that it’s experience and the determination to keep going that gets you anywhere in the real world. Why not put that effort into something you can actually keep awake for?

So by all means, stock up on the ramen, it’ll get you where you need to go. Just don’t forget to switch it up once in a while.





Sushi, anyone?