I returned home last summer after my first year at Illinois to work, catch up with old friends, and relax. I needed it. This year, however, I decided I was ready for a new experience: the Champaign Summer. I wanted to spend my summer here in sunny Champaign-Urbana for a few reasons:
1. To become more independent.
This, frankly, is the biggest reason why I made the move to Champaign. While I enjoyed living at home last summer, I knew I was ready for even more independence throughout the year. So far, that has proven to be true in more ways than I anticipated. I’m now in charge of all of my meals (I was on a meal plan this past school year), my schedule (I often work from home for my internship), and essentially all other “adult” things that you can be doing at 19.
2. Champaign is the perfect bridge between home and a big city.
Champaign, to me, felt like the perfect bridge between going back home to Connecticut and spending the summer in a major city. One of my favorite parts about Illinois is that it offers opportunities year round for all students. For example, I am a business development intern at a startup website and am taking a few classes through a local community college. My roommate is interning at a Fortune 100 company in our Research Park, and another friend is taking chemistry classes through the summer options available at Illinois. Therefore, for many students, staying on campus is a great way to get ahead and experience our university in a whole new way.
3. You can explore C-U a lot more during the summer.
There’s a lot to do here in Champaign-Urbana, and most students probably don’t know/experience a lot of it due to their commitments during the school year. I’ve already taken the time to explore a bit more of the trendy downtowns of both Champaign and Urbana, our local nature (check out Barnhart Prairie Restoration), and some new restaurants on Green Street and beyond. There’s a lot going on here all year long, and summer is a great time to look around.
Over the course of the summer I’ll spend more time delving into each of these topics, but I thought I’d start with my pitch for Champaign.