College Reflections from a Recent Illini Alumna

I know it's been quite a while since I've last posted on here, but the second semester of my senior year of college was a lot busier than I anticipated.

Now that I've made it and earned my hard-earned degree, I have more time to blog again and would like to begin by celebrating the class of 2017 and reflecting on my time at the University of Illinois.

When I was in middle school, I remember not wanting to go to Illinois because I felt the two and a half hour car ride to Champaign was too long. I didn't want to sit in the car for that long a few times a year to get to school and come home from it.

Now I couldn't imagine spending the last four years anywhere else. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else. U of I became my home away from home, and it still hasn't sunk it that come mid-August, I won't be coming back to campus this fall.

No, I won't really miss the allergies I get in the spring and fall because of the cornfields. I won't miss the stress classes and assignments often cause. No, I won't miss grades and taking classes I didn't want to take but had to. I won't miss the rain that comes to Champaign much more than I'd like. But what I will miss far outweighs what I won't.

I will miss being surrounded by people who are all proud to be Illini. I will miss being a short walk away from my best friend. I will miss going to gymnastics meets and sitting in the student section at football games. I will miss sitting in the yearbook office and doing what I love. I will miss seeing the Alma Mater when I head to Campustown or to class. I will miss the many laughs had during interviews with gymnasts and at TWLOHA and yearbook meetings.

Most of all, I will miss the people, everyone who has helped make my college experience a memorable one: my best friend Carly, all the TWLOHA UIUC UChapter members, my yearbook staff members and fellow editors, the gymnasts I got to know and some whom I've befriended.

College is a place of learning, of higher education, but it's so much more than that. College helps you find your passion, discover new things, make memories to last a lifetime.

It's a scary place when you first arrive, and I know that well. When my family left me and my sister after helping us move in, we both cried. We were scared, worried. We weren't sure what life would be like without them. College is a transition to the real world, and the real world can be scary. We didn't have a big social life in high school and before, so we hardly had any experience being on our own and very independent.

But we've come a long way since then. I can only speak for myself, but college has taught me much more than Supreme Court cases and how to use Adobe Animate. I have become a more independent person and am much more comfortable taking care of myself and being on my own. And because of that, I have been able to enjoy the experiences college has offered.

I am so glad I decided to come to U of I. It's where I was meant to be. It's one of the few places I feel I belong.

And although I may no longer be an Illinois student, I will always be an Illini.

Congratulations to all graduates from the class of 2017! We did it!

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