An open letter to the University


By Rebecca Kapolnek

Well, University of Illinois, it is nearing that time.

For some of us, it’s second semester of our senior year, and it is almost time for you and I to go our separate ways, and it is time for me to enter into a scary place called the “real world.” 

I’m sorry I’m leaving, but hear me out: I promise it’s not you, it’s me.

I have learned as much as I can from you. You have immensely prepared me for my professional career, taught me everything I know about communication and public relations and facilitated many great friendships I will never forget. 

But before I walk across that Krannert stage and receive my diploma, I can’t help but look forward to our last four months together.

I make many promises to you before I leave “Chambana” for good.

I promise to attend my second ever Illini basketball game as a student. Athletics are something we, as students, are privileged enough to attend for a very low cost. 

As a second semester senior, I need to take more advantage of attending athletic events and supporting the Fighting Illini. Hey, I will never ever find Blackhawks or Bulls tickets as cheap as student tickets here. 

I promise to minimize my stress and enjoy the time I have left with my sorority sisters and friends. 

Far too often, I see seniors falling into the same trap. They get stressed about job and graduate school applications, and they quickly forget about having fun and spending time with their friends during their last semester.

I promise to hold true to the theory that there is a balance for everything — I can make time to apply for jobs and have fun too. Never again will I have all of my best friends in the same town, within walking distance from each other.

I promise to see a show at Krannert, visit the Japan House and take a bell tower tour at Altgeld. These are places many of us will never again be able to walk or take a bus to with such convenience. Every student must have these experiences and take in the diverse culture of the University.

I promise to take advantage of my gym memberships at the Activities and Recreation Center and Campus Recreation Center East. Let’s be real: I will miss climbing on the rock wall, tanning by the outdoor pool during finals week and running around the track more than anything.

I promise to make memories with the younger girls in my sorority and help them realize how much the University has to offer them if they let it. 

As a freshman, I needed a mentor. I needed someone to help me navigate the ropes of campus and my academics. It was not until I joined my house that I felt a sense of security. I hope to be that security for other women who will be facing these challenges next.

I promise to stop crying about our inevitable separation and look back on all of the good memories these past four years. 

I promise to make a conscious effort to forget about how sad I am and try to have as much fun as I can during my last months with you.

I promise to never turn down a karaoke night at White Horse, country night at KAMS or senior night at Red Lion, no matter how tired and stressed I am.  

I promise to stop calling everything my “last (insert event here)” and start focusing on the memories I can make in that exact moment. Memories are not made when people sit around being sad.

And lastly, I promise you, Illinois, that I will say thank you to my parents. I will remember to consistently thank my parents for all of the love and support they have given me throughout my years here. Without them, I would not be where I am today. 

Every senior needs to remember to say thank you to those who have supported them the most, parents or whomever else it might be, while on their journeys at the University.

Well, Illinois, it is almost time to part. I am looking forward to the next four months together and dread the time we must say goodbye. When we do part in May, I know that I can still return for Homecoming next year. After all, we’ll always stay friends.

Rebecca is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected].