Ninth Piece of Advice: Step Up 2 The Streets
Before coming to Loyola you should be aware that there are many streets. I know, I know, it’s quite surprising. Chicago? The nation’s third largest city has an abundance of streets???? Believe it or not, everywhere you go in Chicago there is a street somewhere nearby. And where there is a street, there is either an angry cab driver, jaywalker, or a bike rider who is scared for their life (due to the angry cab driver).
While a lot of people that go to Loyola are quite familiar with the Chicago area, others are from WAY out of town, where they’re used to seeing more corn than actual humans. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, there is quite a bit you need to know about the streets of Chicago.
1. First off, if you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn’t free candy.
Gum is nice, but it often ends up on the streets of Chicago. If you’re coming from somewhere like Nebraska, you probably don’t even know what gum is (I’m assuming you’re all tobacco users). However, the colorful and gooey dots that litter the sidewalks and streets are NOT free candy. So don’t eat them.
2. It’s not illegal if you don’t get caught
“Jaywalking? Isn’t that illegal?” Calm your panties. Jaywalking may be illegal, but you’re not fully adapted to Chicago until you learn the art of jaywalking.
The first thing you should know is that you only jaywalk when there are no cars coming from either way. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprise. Not everyone packs their brain when coming to college.
Sometimes, you’ll see car(s) in the distance which are coming your way and you really feel like jaywalking. This can be tricky because it all comes down to the distance the cars are away from you, the speed of the cars, and approximately how fast you can run across the street. I’m sure there’s some complex mathematical equation that will help you out with this, but you really don’t have enough time to try it out when you’re trying to jaywalk across the street. Therefore, it all comes down to practice. Basically, if you have any inclination AT ALL that you will be hit by a car and face an imminent death, stay on the sidewalk.
Lastly, you should all know the best/most important place to jaywalk: on SHERIDAN road between WINTHROP and KENMORE. You will be walking down this street a lot and half the time you’re walking down it you’re in desperate need to cross over. Sometimes it may seem impossible, but have no fear. This takes practice as well, but the gist of it is to keep looking at the stop lights on either side. Once they both turn red, most cars will be clear and that’s your time to go! Happy jaywalking!
3. How to seem like you have friends without actually having any
Come night time, it’s not 100% the best idea to be walking alone. Therefore, it’s time to make friends. Walking in groups is the best way to ensure safety when walking the streets of Chicago, especially at night.
I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have friends.” In that case, if you’re walking alone at night, find the nearest group of people and walk closely behind them so that it appears you’re with that group. Making it seem like you have friends is just as good as actually having friends.
4. YOU have the right of way…but that doesn’t to mean go right away
Not all street crossings have stoplights. In fact, most of the street crossings near the Lake Shore Campus are only enforced by stop signs. What does this mean for you collegiate pedestrians? YOU have the right-away. You were probably taught this in Drivers-Ed or something, but it’s important to remember when you’re frolicking down the streets of Chicago.
When you get to street crossing where there is a stop sign and a car is waiting, just go. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t act like you care. Just cross. If want to be a real douche (which I normally do), I walk extra slowly. Chicago drivers are known for their infuriating tempers and they all just need to take a chill pill. If some jerk in a Bentley is giving you the death stare, just keep your head straight ahead and act like it doesn’t bother you. He can be late for once to his pedicure appointment.
Of course, having the right-away doesn’t mean you should always go right away. Like I said, Chicago drivers seem to always forget to take their chill pills in the morning and they also are always late to wherever they need to be. All of this leads to some pretty irrational decisions…like running stop signs and possibly running over an innocent collegian. In this case, do as your momma told you and look both ways before crossing.
The streets of Chicago are more wild than the Amazon and it’s likely you’re not prepared for all the craziness coming from a town with a population of 500. Don’t worry, all of us are the same way. Navigating the streets and trying to save yourself from being run over is not something that comes naturally. It takes time, practice, and talent.