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 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.
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 ;)