Making a big campus smaller
July 20, 2016
Forty-four thousand students may appear intense.
I came from a high school of 2,000 people so I knew I needed a larger school, and I wasn’t worried about the numbers at Illinois. I’d found my place in high school, and I hoped I would be able to do the same thing wherever I went.
As an incoming senior at Illinois, I’d like to say I did. In the past three years, I’ve done everything I could to make the most of my time, between clubs, jobs, study abroad and internships. It all lead me to find friends along the way toward finding a home among thousands.
It started my first few days of school when I decided I wanted to branch out, meeting as many new people as I could. I’d sit in our floor’s open lounge getting to know neighbors and starting conversations with random people passing by.
I joined organizations, such as The Daily Illini, finding great friends as we went on throughout the years and spent nights bonding by collectively putting together a paper.
I’m also lucky in that the College of Media is small, meaning I have shared classes with the same people throughout the years — strengthening relationships with students and professors alike.
Then, my sophomore year, I found 15 new friends when I studied abroad in Paris.
Flash forward from those first few days of freshman year and I’m living with these people, hanging out with them on a regular basis and even randomly running into them on the quad non-stop. It is possible to make a campus as large as Illinois feel like a home.
While the numbers may scare you, don’t let them intimidate you. You’ll find your niche and friends soon enough. It may take a while or maybe just a few weeks, but you’ll soon find yourself calling your dorm, and thus Champaign, home.
While it can be intimidating to put yourself out there at first, start with baby steps and you’ll soon find it becoming easier. Not only will you possibly gain friends, but you’ll acquire a new confidence as well. College isn’t just about the parties and classes. You change as a person throughout the years and cliché as it sounds, you really grow into yourself. It’s the time to be selfish doing what you want when you want to learn about yourself. Make the most of it by doing what you can for your academics, career and social life.
Before coming to school here, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Illinois as my choice. I remember realizing the first time I called Champaign home on a phone call with my parents. My dad, an alumnus, pointed it out. And I couldn’t agree more. I’d found a home on campus and with all the people I’d met along the way.
Charlotte is a senior in Media.