What to do before you toss your cap

Students listen to commencement speaker, Jawed Karim, a co-founder of YouTube, at the U of I Commencement ceremony at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon, May 13, 2007. Erica Magda

Students listen to commencement speaker, Jawed Karim, a co-founder of YouTube, at the U of I Commencement ceremony at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon, May 13, 2007. Erica Magda

By Eric Nyberg

Graduating seniors usually have one leg out the University’s door by the time April rolls around. By this time, most are more concerned with their quickly approaching future, wrapping up their final credit requirements and anxiously thinking ahead to a summer that, for once, won’t be a vacation.

But even after they leave school, their college memories will remain. From the mouths of older students, many of them seniors, here are some things to make sure you do before graduating from this great institution.

  • Sit on the Alma Mater. If you have not done this yet, do it today after reading this article. The statue, for those of you who do not know, stands at the corner of Wright and Green streets near the Union.
  • Nathaniel Dubravec, junior in LAS, enjoys visiting the Arboretum. He said it is the perfect place to rest or study, far from the bustle of Campustown on Lincoln Avenue.
  • Mary McCarthy, senior in LAS, suggests going to the corn maze in Rantoul with the October Lovers Club as one of her top things to do.
  • Ring the Bells at Altgeld Hall. There is a series of levers and pulleys in the bell tower that looks like a keyboard or a xylophone made entirely of wooden handles. You can make arrangements to observe the bell-ringers and even learn to ring a tune yourself during a passing period.
  • Jordan Schneider, senior in Business, said the best thing to do in college is to get involved with several student groups and take on leadership positions in them.

    “That’s one of the best ways to build lasting friendships with people in college,” she said.

  • Matt Louis, junior in Engineering, recommended ordering pizza from Papa Del’s, 206 E. Green, because “it’s the best deep-dish pizza outside of Chicago you can get.”
  • Kathryn Malley, senior in LAS, said everyone should check out downtown Champaign. Shops, clubs, restaurants, cafes including Aroma and Pekara and bars such as the Blind Pig, which boasts more than 100 unique beer selections, will keep you busy once you tire of Campustown.

    “The Courier Cafe in Urbana’s really good too,” she said. “Their sweet potato fries are like the best thing ever.”

  • Go ice skating at the Ice Arena across the street from the Armory in Champaign. You can rent skates for just $1 at Fourth and Armory during free skate hours.
  • “Check out the theaters,” said Jason Buenker, senior in Engineering. “I mean the cool ones downtown.”

    He referred to the Virginia and Boardman’s Art Theatre, in downtown Champaign.

  • One last piece of advice came from a recent graduate looking back on his undergraduate years.

    Andrew Hernann, who graduated from the University last year, said to take advantage of the University’s many performance venues.

    “So much at Krannert is free,” he said. “And the prices at Assembly Hall aren’t very expensive, so see all that stuff while you can.”