The Uncomon Blog

One of the great things about the University of Chicago is the amount of time you have to find your niche and take all kinds of classes before declaring a major. When you’re admitted to UChicago, you’re admitted to the College, not a specific major program, allowing you to leisurely explore different interests. My personal journey involved detours in Statistics, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature before I finally settled into my one true calling—Cinema and Media Studies (CMS)—near the end of last year (my third year!). 

I work with poop. Literally, I use fecal samples to monitor the levels of stress and reproductive hormones in animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I work in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, a lab in the conservation department at the Lincoln Park Zoo, in the heart of Chicago. The lab does “non-invasive welfare monitoring” – basically, we take feces, hair, and fur, run it through a bunch of big expensive machines, and measure the amount of each hormone we are testing for.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and autumn gives way to winter, the joys of the Fall Quarter are worth recalling once more. Autumn is a special time of year. It's when we all return to Hyde Park after a summer filled with various internships, vacations, and volunteer work. It's when we reunite with friends, housemates, classmates, and perhaps intramural sports nemeses. And— above all— it's when the Divinity School Coffee Shop, Grounds of Being or “Div”, finally reopens for business.   

1 and 2 and 3 and… I count (silently) to myself, waiting to come in as the sopranos and altos open Victoria’s “Miss O Magnum Mysterium.” We’re in the back of a Pittsburg church singing to an audience on the first day of Motet choir’s East Coast holiday tour. It’s now time for my section—the basses—to join the sopranos, altos, and tenors. With our opening pitch, we fill out the harmony, giving the other parts a base to listen and tune to. The choir continues on – swelling and waning with the instruction of our conductor’s hands.

 “Are you going through [formal] recruitment?”

This question flew over my head during O-Week of my first year. Why would I join Greek life when I have 100 housemates who have my back? The Housing system at UChicago functions as a central community in many students’ lives, and as a result, many people dismiss Greek life as frivolous and unnecessary.  At the end of my first year, however, I realized that I had shunned something that I really didn’t know too much about.  

In addition to having the classics that everyone knows and loves (Chipotle, Five Guys, Potbelly’s, Jimmy John’s, Dunkin Donuts), Hyde Park also has its own plethora of unique restaurants and eating establishments that can appease every student’s palate. My goal is to eat at every single one of them before I graduate. Here is a (non-exhaustive!) list of some of the gems Hyde Park has to offer, as well as my favorites from the restaurants I’ve already conquered. Happy eating!


Standing in the basement of the Logan Arts Center, I am brought back to the days of summer camp.  I remember fellow campers, activities, games, and popsicles – mostly popsicles. For my friends and me, summer camp was a formative time, learning about arts, sports, and friendship, and more.  Amelia Dmowska (Class of 2016) and Bess Cohen (Class of 2016) felt similarly.  In October of last year, they both wondered about continuing their arts education work into the summertime.  Months of planning and fundraising later, StoryArts launched its camp from June 22 to July 3, 2015. 

Grotesque, stone ornament, hunky-punk. A gargoyle by any other name is still just as quintessential to UChicago architecture. If you were adorning the top of one of our buildings, which gargoyle would you be?

Take the quiz to find out!

I, just like many of my peers in the College, was struck by a familiar panic this year, right around mid-April: the panic of asking yourself “what am I going to do this summer?” And this year, just as I did last year, I turned once again to the University’s Jeff Metcalf internship program.

Since college started, the freedom of summer has been terrifying. 

I think back to the serenity of my kid-summers – flip-turns at the city pool for swim team; cycling down to the creek to skip rocks with my older brother. For the 12-year-old Anthony, summer was nothing more than a lazy set of sunny days. The world expected little of me; frankly, I expected little of me.