Recent graduates offer advice for incoming students

By Cecilia Milmoe, Interim Features Editor

As the fall semester approaches, incoming students are preparing to start their journeys at the University of Illinois. However, alongside the excitement, this can raise questions and concerns.

Luckily, there are those who have experienced college life for four years who may be able to help. To share their most valuable advice to incoming students, several recent graduates from the University looked back on their experiences.

Dani Gillon, ACES graduate

“You need to be disciplined — really hunker down and actually focus on your studies. Even though there are a lot of other things that the University has to offer, make sure that your studies are your number one priority.

“Also, get a planner. Go through and write down every single assignment that’s due, because sometimes, you’ll have professors that will not tell you when an assignment is coming up, and you might forget about it because there’s no reminder. But if you have everything written down in your planner already, you know when something’s coming up. Then, you’re also more prepared and can ask questions if the professors don’t actually bring it up in class.”

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    Hristina Marcheva, FAA graduate

    “I would say that (your first) year sucks for everybody — and I mean everybody. So do your best, and don’t be shy. Reach out to people, because the friends you make that year will most likely stick with you throughout your entire experience.”

    Nena Rohaidzam, FAA graduate

    “My biggest piece of advice is to be open to getting yourself out there and trying new things. There are so many things happening that you would have not expected to be happening on campus.

    “It might take a lot at first to get out of your comfort zone, but it’s so totally worth it. A lot of my really close friends and all the cool people I’ve met during my time in undergrad has definitely been from trying new things and going to different organizations — going to different events held by local bands and things like that. If you’re not the sort of person to be extroverted, it’s still a valuable experience to see what the school has to offer outside of just social life as well. I would just say to explore and be open to exploring.”

    Dejah Travis, LAS graduate

    “I would say definitely manage your time wisely and allow yourself to explore and find yourself. Just pick what you like at the end of the day, don’t pick where you think the most money is going to be. Just pick what you’re passionate about.”

    Jamarri Nix, FAA graduate

    “The biggest piece of advice I would give incoming students is to find your community, and by that, I mean surround yourself with people who share similar interests, support your goals and appreciate your true self. These genuine connections can be hard to find, but when you do, having that group will not only make the college experience a lot more fun, but provide you with people you can rely on and trust.

    “At the same time, it’s crucial to identify when to let some relationships go. Not everyone will stick around, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy their presence while they are around.”


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