Don’t be afraid to branch out

By Luis Velazquez, Assistant News Editor

Entering a new environment can be overwhelming for people ⁠— a new chapter filled with strangers and possible obstacles that will come up along the way. If you know a couple of people who will be attending the University, your nerves shouldn’t be sky-high compared to those who are coming alone. Luckily enough, I had a few friends coming into the University. It was easy to meet up with them and plan out our days as freshmen. 

However, things do change as time progresses. I am not saying it as a bad thing, but eventually, everyone will find their own spot on campus. That is why it is important to branch out! It is part of growing as an Illini and figuring out who you are. From experience, here are some methods I used to find my “home away from home” at a big university like Illinois. 

Attend RSO events

Virtually or in person, these events will show you a different side of campus here at the University. Academics are important, of course, but realizing what the University offers with their clubs should also be taken into consideration. Do not be afraid and explore each RSO. The possibility of finding a new hobby or skills are there, as long as you put effort into trying new things. 

Classes

I consider this one important. As a freshman, there is a possibility you might struggle with your academics. That is totally normal and OK! Transitioning from high school to college is a task not many are able to handle right away. Making friends in your classes can not only help you academically but can also start amazing friendships. This is where I met most of my current friends. You will never feel lonely or overwhelmed if you have people who you can rely on and vice versa!

Greek life

I decided to join a fraternity, Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc., my sophomore year due to wanting to get out of my comfort zone. I was lucky enough to meet a group of people who are irreplaceable. If you would like to be in a social fraternity or sorority, you can always join depending on your preference. The University has four Greek councils, the Black Greek Council, United Greek Council, Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. Keep in mind, it is important to do your research on the organizations you are interested in. Having the same set of values is more important than how an organization looks. 

Get out of your dorm

You do not need to be there every day of your freshman year at the University. Get out of there, and socialize with your floormates. Ask them if they would be down to go eat or have a study session in your lounge. Make your first year at the University as fun as possible.

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