"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Survival Guide: Chicago Edition


Chances are if you live in Chicago, you either live in the middle of the popular spaces downtown or the surrounding neighborhoods — many fluctuating between the cusp of rich and poor. Like most big cities, the appeal of the large buildings and more significant food portions are mainly for the tourists and people who reside in the high-rise buildings.

And that’s not to say every well-off person is blind to health foundations, the blight of crimes in specific neighborhoods, or even programs for food insecurity. What is true, is how underrepresented many of Chicago’s emergency assistance programs are towards the people that genuinely need them. Sadly many citizens of Chicago lack access to information and methods to protect themselves and their livelihood day to day. A survival guide of sorts.

Recently the most pressing matter in Chicago has to be the absurd increase in crime and even more outlandish student loan rates.

As a college student, making your dollars stretch over the span of four years with low pay is typical. However, monthly expenses can become a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips in order to create a better budget for monthly expenses and how to manage your money better.

For college students, monthly expenses usually include books, housing, tuition, transportation, clothing, and other miscellaneous items. Over time these expenses can become a burden; however, there are helpful budget apps that can help you decide which plan works for you. On average, college students spend around $38,000 a year. This amount reflects tuition, housing, and other miscellaneous fees that are included within the school of your choice. All of which do not cover food, clothing, or transportation costs. Thankfully budget apps such as Mint, Goodbudget, and GnuCash are reliable apps that can help you monitor your spending habits throughout the year. It can also be helpful to make a spreadsheet of all monthly expenses to physically see what it is that needs to be paid off and which is more of a priority at the moment.

COD Newsroom (Flickr CC0)

“Best Colleges” provides 4-steps to budget better as a college student. Number one is to manage money and ensure not to overspend. Next, create a budget, and start calculating how much goes towards “needs and wants”. The third is to use a budget app and tools such as Excel and Mint to manage finances. Lastly, to save money in college, include renting books and cooking at home to cut back on unneeded spending. 

As we are living through some uncertain, unforeseen times, it is important to keep in mind the importance of safety. In particular, how to keep yourself safe in relation to self-defense. In fact, police data recently revealed that in Chicago burglaries were up 36%, thefts up 70%, and carjackings up 40% compared to last year. They also revealed shootings declining by 11% and murders down by 6% compared to last year, according to The Hill.

City Self Defense 

One tip highly suggested to practice is situational awareness in being aware of one’s surroundings. As an add-on to this, the creator of the Soteria Method self-defense program, Avital Zeisler, suggests the defensive push kick as one of her top protective moves. In this, the intent is to target the groin by using one’s hip to push your foot forward in the form of a kick. The preferred way of doing this is driving, specifically, the ball of your foot into the groin of the attacker in an effort to push them back. Zeisler recommends the more usual kick in the groin with the head of the foot as an alternate option. Nonetheless, pushing back is favored in keeping the attacker off, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The second suggestion is the hammer fists where you utilize your arms to protect yourself. In this, you would want to try to hit the face of the attacker or the groin or back of the head of the attacker reliant on the facing angle of the attacker. It is important to make sure one uses the meaty side of their fist to strike and twist the body to bang their fist into the attacker. Following this, you should perform a downward motion to drive the side of your fist down on the face of the attacker. If doubling over occurs, it is suggested to strike the attacker again in the back of their neck, similar to “banging on a down” said Zeisler, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Suggestions When They are Too Close

The third main suggestion, especially for when they are too close, is to target the adam’s apple and jugular. This is considered the quickest vulnerable part of the attacker. It is suggested to hit with as much power as possible. This tip was suggested by Tony Schiena. A strike can cause suffocation and a light blow can non-permanently disrupt breathing, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The fourth suggestion is to lower one’s center of gravity. This would mean the bear-hug attack would bring a dangerous potential for an attacker to attempt to control the environment of the attacker. The goal would be to make yourself “heavy” to make it more challenging to be dragged to a possible second location. After that, it is recommended to bend the legs and drop the level of one’s hips, similar to a squat. Then slightly sit back into the attacker with one’s head up, this would decrease your center of gravity making it tougher to lift.

Lastly, one must create space to escape to create distance for the attacker. Ross Cascio from Krav Maga Worldwide, one who runs self-defense fighting programs, equates this method to move a piece of furniture. Typically, it is easier to lug someone the closer that person is, the easier it is to lug them, therefore, make an effort to get away.

Written by China Page, Brielle R. Buford, Ke’Lena Thomas
Edited by Sheena Robertson


U.S. News: 8 Tips for Budgeting in College

Best Colleges: The Student’s Guide to Budgeting in College

Think Impact: Average College Student Spending

The Hill: Chicago records 36 percent jump in crime as some violent crimes drop

Chicago Tribune: 5 top tips from self-defense experts

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jovan J’s Flickr Page – Creative Common

Inset Image Courtesy of COD Newsroom’s Flickr Page – Creative Common

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