Opportunity is Everywhere
The University of Illinois is a fantastic place. Now, understandably, anyone trying to recruit prospective students would say that, right? But here’s the thing. I am a freshman, and not so long ago, I was a junior in high school feverishly applying to colleges in hopes of finding the one that inspired me most. And not so long ago I was, believe it or not, a high school senior; I was anxious to get out of my hometown and eager to explore new things.
But it wasn’t until my first week here that I truly understood the many opportunities this university surrounds its students with. Five weeks ago, I was Rachel Hernandez, freshman. Today, I am Rachel Hernandez, freshman, university admissions blogger, Spoon University member, HerCampus editor, Student Education Association member, Greek life member, volunteer tutor. Overwhelmed? Me too.
Truth be told, I was hesitant at first. Wary that I couldn’t find where I fit in, I attended Quad Day with much caution and ended up signing my name for about 40 clubs, to which I still get emails from daily—three of which stuck. Regardless, I put myself out there in ways I never could before. Right in front of me were hundreds of clubs, teams, and organizations that wanted me. And while the University of Illinois offers well-known clubs such as Best Buddies and Greek life, it also offers October Lovers Club and yoga clubs!
Ultimately, your college experience will be unique, and hopefully you will get involved in things you may have never thought of before. I found that the best use of my time thus far was by surrounding myself with people who appreciate my strengths, weaknesses, and interests. It is important to remember that while academics are the number one priority, having a support system of friends is extremely important, as well. The key to it all is stepping out of your comfort zone, while staying true to your values. With a student body of 40,000, there really is a place for everyone.