My Path to the University of Illinois

I thought it might be fun to share with you how I came to be a student here at the University of Illinois. When I graduated from high school back in 2002, I decided to start a punk rock band and pursue a career as a musician. It was a serious endeavor and a risky decision, but I wanted to chase my dream.

In 2004, after a couple years of playing shows all over the Midwest and building a regional fanbase, my band signed a recording contract. That’s when things really picked up. I went from having grand aspirations to having a legitimate profession. It was unbelievable to see my band’s pictures in magazines and have my band’s music videos on television!

From a 2010 issue of Alternative Press Magazine.

Throughout all my years of touring, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel all over North America and have some pretty remarkable experiences. I was able to open up for some of the biggest names in 2000s alternative rock. I was fortunate enough to meet and play with many of the artists who had been such a big influence on me.

I was also able to perform at some of the best college campuses in the United States, including the University of Illinois. Being able to visit and experience life at university campuses across the country would pay off for me when it came time to apply to schools I would be interested in attending later.

I snapped this photo from behind my drums in an attempt to get a picture of the crowd. This was at The Bamboozle music festival at Giants Stadium in New Jersey (2007).

My band continued to tour and release four full-length albums and a few EPs over the next eight years. Eventually, things slowed down, and music became less and less a part of my life.

I thought about my life as well as my goals, and about the experiences I had as an artist in the music business and how those experiences could apply to what I might be interested in pursuing as a new career. My experiences managing my band’s social media accounts and working with A&R representatives on the promotion of musical instrument products inspired my decision to pursue a career in advertising.

I started off at my local community college, and then I applied to a handful of schools I was interested in attending. Given that I am a lifelong resident of the state of Illinois and was very familiar with Champaign-Urbana, the University of Illinois was high on my list. There were many factors that affected my transfer decision: affordability, return on investment, academic reputation, alumni network, and a place I could feel at “home” were only a few of the criteria I had on my list when making my college decision.

The University of Illinois was the perfect match as it checked off every box for me. Champaign-Urbana has always been a very special community for me as an artist, and I am so happy to have been able to make it my home as a student. Hopefully, you will also be able to feel a similar fondness for this special community when you visit campus!

Tony

Tony

Class of 2019
I am a first-generation, non-traditional, transfer student studying Advertising in the College of Media. I grew up in Pleasant Hill, Illinois and spent nearly 10 years recording and touring all over North America as a professional musician.

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