UI Seniors savor final homecoming


By Christen McGlynn

As I sat anxiously in one of my classes this year, my professor announced a variety of events that would be taking place over the weekend — it was 2011, and I was about to experience my first Homecoming at the University. Unaware of what to expect, I proudly wore my sorority letters to the game that upcoming Saturday. I was surrounded by a sea of blue and orange, and it seemed like the entire University came together for one day. Morning tailgating turned into a late night out with friends, and one of the best nights of my freshman year.

Fast-forward three years, and here I am experiencing my final Homecoming. As cliché as it sounds, it really does seem like the time has flown by, and I still remember that awkward freshman who had no idea what to expect. Homecoming weekend brings in a variety of people from alumni to residents of Champaign. This year I will be working at one of Champaign’s most beloved Illini bars — KAM’S. Homecoming is one of our busiest days of the year, and probably one of my favorite shifts to work. Everyone who comes in always seems to have their own story to tell, whether it’s a freshman’s first year or an alum’s twentieth year.

My sorority’s senior house, which holds ten of my closest friends, is planning on having a party before the game starting at around 7 a.m. Many of our friends who have graduated will be returning to celebrate a (hopeful) win against Minnesota. This will mean dragging Marlee, one of my roommates, out of one of her typical deep slumbers, while helping Kelsey, another roommate, prepare mimosas for our guests. Senior block will start soon after, which is basically a large tailgate for all the seniors in the Greek system. A regular “block” is normally segregated between Greek houses; however, Senior Block is where all seniors come together to tailgate in the same location. Coming together for our last Homecoming will be a bit nostalgic, but it will be nice knowing I am able to spend it with all my friends—no matter what Greek chapter they may belong to.

Although our football team may not have the greatest record, Homecoming has always reminded me of a time where the student body comes together to cheer on the Illini. Getting up at 6 a.m. will not seem so difficult knowing that it is my last chance to enjoy Homecoming as an undergraduate student.

From freshman year to senior year, Homecoming has always been an event that I look forward to. Whether or not the Illini win or lose the football game, it won’t really matter in my eyes because it’s the atmosphere that I enjoy the most. Sharing a Blue Guy at KAM’S with friends or even working a shift with my co-workers will bring on a mix of emotions. To any underclassman considering skipping the eventful weekend, I strongly suggest finishing all necessary homework or studying to take part in the weekend activities. Homecoming may be an annual event, but you can only enjoy it as an undergrad for four years.

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Christen can be reached at [email protected].