With or Without

Brooke Larson grew up in the south where she spent most of her teen years experimenting with drugs and alcohol trying to escape the world around her. Then, in 57 seconds she saw the fragility of life.

The Basement

While most of us would be scared to venture downstairs, curious of the strange noises we hear, writer LaVonte Battle was drawn to the sounds and credits them as the inspiration for his passion.

Ballad of a Best Friend

Every writer struggles with it. Some master this tool. Writer Adam Schmidt finds that win or lose you always have your best friend with you need to work things out.


George Paskalev was born and raised in Bulgaria before eventually immigrating to Chicago to attend Columbia College. His fears and impressions of the United States changed when he showed up to school and took the elevator up to his new home.

Fear of the Unknown

Karla E. Venegas served a tour of duty in Iraq prior to coming to Columbia College Chicago. This is the story of her first day in the War zone.


Friends come and go from out life. Essayist Natalie Kretlow remembers one that made a lasting impact.


While finishing up her stint as a Marine, writer Vanessa Barnes took on an undercover job that changed her life.


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