Angela posing in a field with teammate on her Illini 4000 ride across the country

Home Away From Home – Angela, Living-Learning Communities at UIUC

Between living in the Business LLC (Living-Learning Community) at Nugent Hall and working as a social media intern with University Housing her first year on campus, Angela knows a lot about UIUC’s residence halls. To get the scoop, we sat down with the sophomore to talk about what it’s like living in the Business LLC, how University Housing impacted her first year at UIUC, and what she recommends for incoming students. 

Angela and Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park, yet another stop on the Illini 4000 ride
Angela smiles as she takes a break from riding with Illini 4000.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re involved in on campus.

I’m a student in Gies interested in studying finance and data science. I’m involved in Beta Alpha Psi, which is the Business Honors fraternity, as well as EntreCorps, which is a consulting organization for startup companies. Also, the Illini 4000, which is this biking organization. This past summer, we biked across the country to raise money and awareness for different cancer causes. I also work for University Housing as a social media assistant.

What are Living-Learning Communities (LLCs)?

[In] a Living-Learning Community, you have one central theme. I’m in the Business LLC. I would say a majority of the students here are majoring in business, but you can definitely be part of the LLC even if you aren’t majoring in business or [don’t] have any business background at all. It’s just really based on [whether] you’re interested in business.

It’s a nice little community, where there’s different special LLC events [you] can go to. We’ve had peer tutoring for business students. We’ve also had mindfulness events where we got to paint mugs, enjoy snacks, and all that stuff. So in my opinion, I feel like an LLC is just a nice community where people are united by similar interests. I’ve been enjoying it so far.

How has being in the Business LLC impacted your UIUC experience?

I would say it definitely has had a big impact on my UIUC experience. The Business LLC is where I’ve met my closest friends, and it’s really nice that we all live so close to each other. We’re interested in a lot of the same things, and we’re in a lot of the same [activities]. A lot of my friends are also in the business fraternity, so we usually go to events and do work for that together. … I would definitely say it’s where I found my community. I feel like I belong here.

What kind of unique experiences does the Business LLC offer?

Besides the tutoring events I mentioned, they had some older Gies students come out [to] look over our schedules, give us advice, and tell us what courses to take or not to take. They’ve also offered events on the recruitment process, interviewing tips, and resume building. There are a lot of resources and a lot of events. 

What would you say to students who are considering the Business LLC or an LLC in general?

I would say that joining an LLC is definitely worth it. I think that one of the biggest benefits is being constantly surrounded by people who may be in the same major and may have the same interests as you. And I definitely would encourage incoming students to branch out and make friends with people outside their major, [but] I think that just having this close-knit community offers a lot of resources and support that you might not otherwise get. 

Also, there are LLC-specific events that I think are fun, especially as a first-year student. You’re coming into college, you’re worried that you won’t find the right group of people, or you’re worried about trying to integrate within campus itself. Having these different social events and different resources made available [was] definitely very helpful. It makes you feel more welcome.

Angela driving her roommate to class! One of the biggest perks of living (and working!) with housing are the golf cart rides.

Can you tell us about the work you do for University Housing?

I’m a social media intern. So basically, I help keep [up] all the social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. My boss tells me [about] the different events that are going on around campus, and I brainstorm ways that we can convey them to students through social media posts. I write captions and pick out photos for that. I also help with the facilitation of other housing events, like giveaways, and go to different housing events. At the end of the semester, we had our Ike end-of-year events, and I went there to get some content, show what was going on, and what students were doing. So I get content from those events as well.

Even though I’m a social media intern, I also work outside the scope of social media, and [get] general content as well. I have interviewed students in the past about their experiences living in housing. So really, any kind of content that you see at University Housing events, those are the kinds of projects that I work on. It’s been a really great experience so far. 

We want to ask you to give some advice to incoming students. First up: What’s your best advice for students looking for a roommate?

I think doing the online quiz was really helpful, because you get to kind of see what their living habits are like and if they align with yours. As far as just general roommate advice, look at what your priorities are and what you’re interested in. Figuring it out is a tough process, because it is different for everybody. Just be open-minded. And also, ask around if you have any family or friends who could perhaps offer some insight. I know the UIUC Reddit page is really helpful for incoming students, so I’d consider looking into that as well. 

View from Angela's window overlooking the Ikenberry Quad and many red and orange colored trees. The recreation center is visible in the background
View from Angela’s window overlooking Ikenberry Quad. There’s something magical about fall. <3

What about advice for choosing a residence hall?

As far as general housing, the University Housing website has a lot of resources. We’ve also made content for incoming students, [like] POV videos for students to show them what it’s like to live in different university housing locations. Those are some resources that you can use, as well as looking at our social media pages, looking at Reddit, looking online, and asking people. There are also some good YouTube videos made by past students that can be helpful in determining exactly where you [might] want to live.

And finally, any general advice for students considering UIUC?

Come into campus with an open mind, and stay true to yourself. I know that when I first came to campus, I thought that I had to portray this inauthentic version of myself to make friends. But I think if you just stay true to yourself, then you will attract the right people into your life. 

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