Friday, February 18, 2011

University of Illinois--Champaign/Urbana

Today, over at Kelly's Korner, she's hosting "Show Us Your Life:  Show Us Your Alma Mater."  Since alma mater can refer to any school you attended OR one from which you graduated, I chose the former.

I am a blue and orange girl at heart.  I only attended U of I for a year (hated the weather), but I know all the words to the fight song and I still update myself on their football and basketball teams even while I'm not a sports fan.

I transfered to U of I from a small community college.  Unfortunately, this was one of those schools that would've been easier to attend had I started as a freshman.  By the time I transferred, most people had determined their friend groups and Greek life was a pretty big deal.  I wasn't Greek and found it difficult to make friends given that I was only going to be there for two years.

But I got a great education.  My professors were on all ends of the spectrum--from suit and tie to tie-dye.  My major at the time was Advertising and I certainly learned a lot about looking at life through a hundred different lenses.  In fact, when I transferred to a university closer to home, I received ALL of my credits because the professor in charge said the education I received at U of I was heads and tails above the advertising department at this school.

It was the first place I learned about really taking care of myself and compromising with a roommate.  I cried because I missed home, but I had something that was uniquely mine.  The weather in Champaign is frightful.  I swear it snows up from the ground, but when the weather is nice, you'll never see a more beautiful campus.  The campus is also extremely pedestrian friendly.  I loved that aspect of it.  The quad was gorgeous and there were a ton of groups to get involved in (including a great chapter of InterVarsity).

It was an experience.  There were arguments about Chief Illiniwek.

I always thought it was mildly interesting that the students fighting to rid the university of him were white kids...particularly given that they felt he was insulting to Native American students.  Truthfully, U of I used the Chief in an honorable way.  The dances the mascot learned were actually taught by a Native American man and they were traditional Native American dances.

There was the cafeteria guy who knew exactly what kind of sandwich I wanted.

And there was the literature class I really didn't need to take, but wound up in anyway.  I actually believe that my blind professor and his regular mockery of the TA was one reason I ended up going back to school to major in English.  They had such great banter about the books we were reading.  It reminded me how much I loved to read.

I'm grateful for the experience.  I learned a lot--and not just in the classroom.  Mostly, I learned that we hate all things Michigan ;)

Go Illini!


Newlywed Next Door said...

My dad was an Illini!

Tamar SB said...

Thanks for the "tour" of U of I! My cousin is a professor there now - and have a few friends who went there and loved it! I also saw an interesting documentary about the mascot - very interesting as you said!


Victoria said...

i just had to stop by! i graduated from u of i in '09. i come from a long line of illini alums. and i thought the weather was weak, coming from chicago :) i did LOVE my experience too!!! :) i also transfered there my junior year, but i had some friends that already went there....

happy weekend!

Sara F. said...

ILL-INI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Our Happy Married Life said...

awesome! I love U of I. I'm from Danville (very close to Champaign) so when it came time for college I went to Illinois State because it was further away. One of my best friends went to U of I and majored in Advertising. I know it's a huge school and not sure when you were there but worth mentioning...Allison Kegley?

CrysHouse said...

Happy Married,

The name doesn't sound familiar, but that doesn't mean we didn't have classes together. My classes were HUGE. Those that weren't huge were simply one section out of many. So it's very possible our paths crossed. I was there from 2000-2001.

Anonymous said...

No place on earth like the good ol Morrow Plots! Muck Fichigan! :)

Shoshanah said...

I can't even imagine going to school in Illinois. Not that I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it, I just don't think I would have been able to deal with all the cold weather!

Marti said...

ILL-INI! Block I and Paint the Hall Orange are some of my favorite memories! I'm a transplant from southern Illinois who now lives in northern Illinois and I'd be happy to trade the weather up here for some C-U weather any day =)