Champaign hasn’t changed all that much since my mom attended this University

By Courtney Linehan

In December 2002, I knew where I was going to college. With its world-renowned journalism school and its student body that included several of my close friends, I knew Mizzou was the place I would call home from August 2003 until May 2007.

My mom, however, knew better.

When it came time to sign on the dotted line and secure a spot at the University of Missouri, I realized my mom was right. Something didn’t sit well with me about traveling 400 miles to go to a school I’d visited once. Somehow I couldn’t really get excited about cheering for the Tigers. And after all, who ever talks about Missouri basketball?

Deciding to follow in my mom’s footsteps had nothing to do with choosing Illinois, but it’s made the last four years a lot more fun.

Since I came to Illinois, I’ve heard countless stories about my Mom’s Days in Champaign. I can’t count the times I’ve gotten random phone calls asking if a business is still open or a building is still standing. Mom, I have no idea what you’re talking about with this plaster cast museum.

I’m not sure when the Engineering Quad was built, and actually, I’m not all that certain where it is. The cool people still study south of Green Street.

We’ve upgraded a little and now have an awesome computer network, or so I’m told. The Internet works, and that’s all that matters to me.

But a lot of the things my mom remembers are still true at Illinois.

I’ll always miss Aunt Sonya’s – somehow the Walgreens that replaced it just isn’t as uniquely Illini. But we still have Merry Ann’s, which is almost as good and with its constant operation makes for great late night snacks and early morning dining.

White Horse is still here, boasting the best cheese fries anywhere in the world. Now we’ve diversified, with Legends’ fish sandwiches, Murphy’s cheeseburgers and great Chicago-style fare at Geovanti’s.

I totally support the return of “The” in Assembly Hall; after all, the Hoosiers just can’t stack up to Illinois. The Auditorium of old is still there, with the same name. Now, however, we call it by its first name, Foellinger. And nope, that asbestos has not been removed and Lincoln Hall has not been renovated. Maybe by the time my kids are Illini.

And my kids will be Illini; they won’t have much choice. We’ll be at Memorial Stadium each fall, will follow the basketball team through the tournament and will return to campus so tahey can see the Quad on a summer afternoon – nobody has a Quad quite like ours.

I’m really excited for Mom’s Day this year, especially since it will be my last. I love having my family visit Champaign; for one thing, I don’t have to drive two hours to see them. I love going to the mall with my mom and sisters, going out to eat and driving through campus.

I agree with my mom. You can’t beat Illinois.

Courtney Linehan is a graduate student in Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]