After taking in an endless view of cornfields on I-57 while driving to the University of Illinois on move-in day, I started to question my college decision. Being surrounded by corn just wasn’t the college vibe I was looking for. But after spending only a week at the university, I realized that this cornfield stigma was far from reality. The University of Illinois is truly like the quintessential college experience you only see in box-office movies.
Entering campus, you are immediately surrounded by a large college town despite the “small town” feeling the surrounding cornfields give off. Green Street, the main hub of campus life, draws students to its many restaurants, bars and shops. Because the campus is in both the towns of Champaign and Urbana, the university has a small city feel, despite the middle-of-nowhere stereotype.
Furthermore, the athletics at U of I are far from small town. Attending a football or basketball game is really an experience. With thousands of fans gathered in Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall, you are guaranteed to feel the pride of being an Illini. Unique to the university is its Orange Krush cheering section, which always gets the crowd pumped for an Illini Basketball win.
And if athletics aren’t your thing, there’s definitely thousands of other clubs and activities for everyone on campus. All of these clubs are showcased at the start of each academic year at an event known as Quad Day, which takes place in the middle of U of I’s main academic quad. Each unique organization displays a booth where students are able to sign up to receive information about joining the organizations. While attending my first week on campus, I was shocked by the plethora of opportunities that were available for the 43,000 students on campus.
In addition to the unique campus and activities that are a part of being an Illini, it is important to recognize the academic prestige that Illinois carries. Considered by many to be a Public Ivy, the university offers the largest variety of classes I have ever seen. From latino studies, to mechanical engineering, there is something to satisfy the interests of every student on campus. Boasting over 17 colleges allows students to participate in many rigorous courses of study while pursuing their degrees. Even though I am a journalism major, I have become immersed in political science, sociology, spanish, and even science classes. The variety and flexibility is something that makes the university stand out among many other renowned schools across the country.
Overall, the combination of opportunities that Illinois offers is hard to beat. Entering college with the boring corn-field stigma was truly defied when I began to understand the breadth of opportunities the university offers. I couldn’t dream of attending anywhere else. GO ILLINI!