Find your place at the University


Cameron Krasucki

Students show off their moves at Urbanite Dance Showcase on May 1. Joining groups allows you to figure out where your place at the university is.

By Chieh Hsu

Welcome, incoming students! Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where countless opportunities await. During your first year, you will be living in a dorm where you’ll hopefully make friends who will share your joy and help re-energize you in the middle of a busy day; you’ll scroll through the seemingly endless lists of courses that the University offers and carefully build a course plan to satisfy your curiosity; you’ll take part in objective or social-oriented RSOs to discover more about yourself and what the world has to offer. In short, this is the beginning of a four-year journey of endless discovery. The process can be adventurous, exhilarating and life changing, but it all depends on how you make use of your time. In this article, I hope to give you some inspiration in the form of a short guide.

As a new student, you will probably take some introductory courses during your first year and come up with a schedule with your counselor during the summer. I recommend doing some research on the graduation requirements of your degree(s). The University requires students to take a certain amount of science and humanities classes in order to graduate, known as general  education courses. When selecting your gen-eds, you can utilize Course Explorer and see if there are classes that fulfill multiple categories of the requirements that are to your liking. At the end of the day, if the classes you select don’t interest you, then it will defy the purpose of learning.

Making friends at your dorm is a privilege a lot of students appreciate since they will be the primary source of social interactions you receive in the first few weeks of college. However, since each dorm has a different social atmosphere, with some more social than the others, there’s no need to panic if you can’t find any friends at your dorm. There are still a lot of ways to make friends in college. For example, you might find friends from your classes or RSOs that you participate in. There are awesome people everywhere, you just need to reach out to them. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Additionally, the University is well known for its Greek life culture. There are all kinds of Greek houses on campus, so I recommend going to some rush events to find out about them for yourself.

Joining an RSO helps you meet people with similar passions, and if you manage to climb up the ranks to obtain higher positions, it will look good on your resume too. Since Quad Day is held virtually this year, I recommend you to visit Involved@Illinois’ website for a list of the RSOs on our campus and check out their social media or attend the Virtual Quad Day to obtain more information about the RSO. Discovering the right RSO might just be the key difference between a good college experience and a great one.

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Finding your fit at the University isn’t always easy, but just remember that the friendships you build during your college career are often some of the most important ones you build throughout life. How do I know? Well, my parents always brag about their college life. Do what you have to do and give it your all to enjoy it; be in the moment!

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