Reflections from Bailey: A CS BSW Student

I’ve officially been in Chicago for over 2 months now, and let me tell you, it feels great. I’ve navigated the city commuting, found the best food deals, and am now quickly trying to fit in all of the things I haven’t done yet into the last month and a half of my semester. Here are a few pro tips from this new city girl:

  1. Velvet Taco (only one block from Canterbury) has an amazing ‘back door” deal every Monday. An entire rotisserie chicken, tortillas, cheese, and corn salsa for only $10 every week. If you are low on grocery money or really over having to cook your meals, it’s the way to go, and it will get you through for a few days!
  2. As it gets a bit colder in the city I’ve had to ditch my outdoor homework spot at the park, but I’ve found a great alternative. 3 Arts Cafe is located 2 blocks away inside of the Restoration Hardware. The building is beyond aesthetically pleasing and has a coffee bar located in the back of the first floor. Grab a coffee and sit on a beautiful, plush, linen, armchair and pull out your laptop as you admire the chandeliers and perfect throw pillows surrounding you. You may not be able to afford a thing you see, but the decor will have you feeling your bougie-est self.
  3. Never underestimate the running trail on Lake Shore Drive. Right around now is the time I start to get a bit stir crazy so it’s always a good idea to get outside whenever possible. The leaves are gorgeous right now by the lake, and a walk by the water with my roomie is never a bad idea.

    View from the Lakeshore Path

Life at my internship at, SOS Children’s Villages, has been going great. When I first started I struggled to feel completely comfortable and competent because everything was so new. I was still learning all the lingo, figuring out what everyone’s position entailed, and was struggling to know what to do in the slow moments. That quickly changed for me once I started bonding with the case workers that I share an office with. I love my work environment and the culture of my office. Every day the case worker team and I stop what we are doing around 12:30, sit around our small office table to eat lunch together, and press pause on the stress of the day. This may sound pretty uneventful to you, but with the craziness of office life, people can tend to get caught up in their own little world, and forgot to check in with each other. This lunch break is a real treat for us because we can finally slow down, talk about our cases, and catch up about things outside of work too. Never underestimate a great office culture when you’re looking for your internship, it really makes the days go by faster. Another plus of bonding with coworkers for me, is that it has opened the door to them inviting me to tag along on what they are doing more often. For example, I have been able to learn so much about being a caseworker because I’ve been able to attend staffings, home visits, court hearings, and meetings with DCFS. I feel like I’m really getting a hands-on learning experience at my agency every single day, and that’s because my supervisors and staff really want me to enjoy my experience and learn as much as possible in my time here. My favorite thing about my job is getting to hang with the really-stinking-cute kiddos almost every day. Being in the office four days a week gives me the opportunity to see the kids over and over, which helps me build a rapport and a relationship with them. This is something that would be much harder to achieve if I were only in the office 2 days a week instead.

Overall, my experience in the city is just getting sweeter with time. This month I have hopes to attend a Blackhawks game, try out a few new restaurants in Wicker Park, and go to the Lights Festival. I’m really excited to be in the city as the holidays approach and all the lights come out for Christmas!