Amer Calvario ’17 and Stephanie Valencia ’17
This section focuses on U of I at Urbana Champaign because the greatest number of the class of 2015 was accepted there.
I had a wonderful experience attending UIUC! My biggest advice for the graduating seniors would be to get as involved as possible on campus. It’s a great way to meet people and truly start to make Champaign-Urbana feel like home. Moving to a new city filled with strangers can be intimidating and lonely, but everyone is looking to make friends! So, step out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never done before. You never know who you might meet!
Through my experience at U of I, I gained lifelong friends. I learned independence, the appreciation of diversity, time management, hard work, dedication, and the ability to balance work and fun.
Join a sorority or fraternity, not just any of them, but find the one that is best for you. It’s the best networking I have to this day, and I met some of my best friends I met through my sorority. It is not all just about partying. They are a huge support system through and beyond college. Find a professor you enjoy and ask about internships or how to help them on a project. It is a great learning experience that you can put on future resumes. Have FUN! I never believed life (or school) should only be about working hard 24/7. You need to experience what life has to offer. Prioritize your classes and grades, but find (or schedule) the time to see friends, go to a comedy show, venture around downtown Champaign, go to the basketball or football games, etc.
No matter how tired/lazy you are, go to class; you’re paying for it. It’s your turn to take ownership of your education. So do it.
Four years flies by like you wouldn’t imagine. Enjoy it while it lasts! It will be over in the blink of an eye.
Have fun. Take advantage of everything U of I has to offer. You only go to college once, so make it the best experience you can.
If you perform really well and are on the Dean’s List, you get to choose your classes before everyone else, which is fabulous because you can choose later classes and sleep in if you want!
Another strategy that helped me to succeed is registering for more classes than I would need each semester and then taking the first few weeks of class to determine if I wanted to drop one of the courses, before the deadline of course! This way, I wasn’t “stuck” taking a course I didn’t like just because I needed to take a certain number of hours each semester to graduate on time or qualify for financial aid. Some semesters I would end up liking all of the courses and just take extra hours in those semesters. However, I would drop a course that seemed boring or too difficult in the context of my current course load.