You won’t expect these things, but they’ll happen


People walk on the Main Quad on Jan. 17, 2018. Coming from another country, Illinois can reap many surprises — in the form of weather, communication and restaurant options.

By Kelly Johnson and

Before you come to college, I’m sure you’re writing lists on lists of things you’ll need to know. I’m sure coming from another country means this happens even more so. Here’s a list of things you might not be thinking about but will definitely impact you once you get here. 

How cold it is in Illinois

Everyone will tell you Illinois is going to be cold, and you’re going to think this to yourself: “Oh, yeah, I’m sure it’ll be cold, but I’ll be fine.” I’m here to tell you you will not be fine. Get a good down jacket, gloves, a hat, that whole kit and caboodle. Take how cold you’ll think it’ll be, and subtract about 30 degrees. I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life, and every winter I am shocked once again. 

How weather fluctuates 

OK, I promise this whole article will not be about the weather, but this again is another very important factor. While you need to pack a huge down winter coat, don’t forget a swimsuit and sunscreen. The weather is literally one of the most confusing things about Illinois. It really will be 60 degrees one day and then 15 degrees the next. Make sure you download a good weather app, and check it before you leave in the morning. 

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    How large and diverse the student body is 

    This is a great thing for everyone attending Illinois. The amount I have learned from my peers simply due to our differences is amazing. However, the amount of people can get a little overwhelming at first. I went to a large high school, and even I was a little nervous at first walking around on campus, especially when upperclassmen are walking so confidently to the Transportation Building — which, by the way, I didn’t know was a thing until I looked it up. Try to remain calm, and leave early for classes for the first few weeks. If you’re getting pretty lost, don’t be afraid to ask someone. Most people are pretty friendly on campus and know the feeling.

    People hand out a lot of things on the Main Quad

    You’re going to be walking to class on the Main Quad and all of a sudden get rushed by people, either trying to get you to sign up for their club or agree with their morals. While it’s always good to learn something new or possibly join a new club, don’t feel bad putting your head down to make it to class without six new pieces of paper full of information you don’t really care about. 

    There’s a huge variety of food choices to explore

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a picky eater; the amount of food places offered in Campustown is kind of incredible for a college town. Whether you’re trying a new dining hall, a classic fast food chain or a town favorite, you’ll be able to try all different types of food while here on campus. You might not think having a bunch of different food options will be a big deal, but it’ll be a life saver when you’re tired of eating the same thing from the dining hall. It’ll also be a long conversation with your friends deciding on where to go to eat, only to decide everyone should just get their own thing and meet up after. 

    As you’re adapting to your home away from home in Illinois, try not to stress out too much. While you can’t prepare for everything, there will be lots of resources and friendly people who will be willing to help you transition to life on campus.

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