I-L-L-I-N-I! The University of Illinois based in lovely Champaign-Urbana is one of the top public institutions in the Midwest, as well as being one of the most social and exciting campuses in the country. I can personally guarantee the time you spend at U of I will be among the most satisfying and memorable years of your life…. or your money back! (from the University, not me). But before you load up your car with your duffel bags and lifetime supplies of Easy Mac and Cup O Noodles, there are a few things that you should know about life on the campus. Here are a few tips that will make your transition from home infinitely easier.
The first night of college is always the most nerve-wracking. You may have all of your friends from home, or no friends, but I promise you, everyone shares at least some of these worries. Luckily there are several ways to ease into this transition. My first piece of advice would be to take advantage of the events offered on your floors in your residence halls. These Meet and Greets will most likely occur right as you move in, and as shy as you may be, these are the people that you will be living with for the next year. So whether you are living in Bromley, PAR, or one of the six-pack dorms, I would strongly advise that you take part in these Meet and Greet sessions. You never know – there's a strong chance you'll find your best friends for the remainder of your college tenure.
While Greek Life may not be for everyone, it is a very prominent part of campus life at U of I, and I would definitely implore you to explore the Greek scene as early as your first night on campus. If you are a female student, who is looking to join a sorority, you will have to wait a couple of weeks for formal sorority rush. However, for guys, the rushing starts the second that you walk on campus. Do not be afraid to walk into any house that is throwing a party; the members are on constant look-out for new recruits, and will welcome you into their rush events with open arms. Some of the fraternities start having events the day freshmen arrive, while others wait a week or two. My advice: visit as many houses as you can, enjoy your rush experience, and then settle into where you feel most comfortable.
You Gotta Eat!
The last category that I feel is necessary to cover, and maybe the most important in my opinion, is food. You may move into your dorm a full five or six days before your dorm food service starts, and there is no way that you should kill your entire supply of fruit snacks in the first week. There are a couple restaurants I would recommend that you hit up in your first week on campus. Geovanti’s, located on the corner of 4th and Green, is essentially open 24-7 and is a freshman favorite. Try the chicken strip meal—I promise you that you will never have more delicious chicken. If oriental is more your cup of tea, Cravings, located on Wright street past Green, has the best Chinese food on campus, with massive portions all under $8! There is one more restaurant I will recommend, however, I will warn you… this is not for the weak of heart or stomach. Fat Sandwich, located on John and 5th, is known for the largest sandwiches in human history, containing mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and French fries… among other items. I have not been able to stomach a mighty Fat Sandwich since my freshman year. Nevertheless, give it your best shot!
With those tips in mind, I encourage you to enjoy the rest of your summer. However, I hope you're counting down the days until you get to begin your experience at U of I. Who knows? In a few short months, maybe you and I will be slamming chicken strips next to each other at Geovanti’s at 3 a.m.