Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’
And Suddenly a Light Appears Inside My Brain. And I Think of My Ways, I Think of My Days, And Know That I Have Changed*
Looking back, every one if the past few years since I’ve started college has really been defined by a phase. Sometimes the phases span more than one year, but every section was still really definitive.
Freshman year was a time of really realizing the friendships I wanted to make and keep. The majority of the people I knew then no longer exist in my life, but a lot of the current close friendships came from that time. Funny how that works out. It was just not the crowd I wanted to be associated with; a lot of it reminded me of what I thought I was comfortable with in high school. And then BAM! I realized this was college in a brand new state. There was no one from my high school and I could really choose and figure out the friendships I really wanted to make. A lot of what you do in freshman year really does end up defining what your college experience is. I mainly found my roommates. :)
Second semester of freshman year was my first exposure to Illini Pride (student cheering sections for all varsity sports teams) in the form of Orange Krush (men’s basketball cheering section). And wow. I would never take back any of the countless hours I have devoted to being on the Illini Pride Executive Board and the countless hours spent at sporting events. When I earned my spot on the board starting sophomore year, it completely changed the lifestyle and friendships I had (aside from my roommates, who became a constant throughout the four years).
All my friends from freshman year were Asian. Meaning that I really only interacted with, at maximum, 16% of the Illinois community! 16%! It’s amazing to think about how much joining Illini Pride really opened my eyes to the world outside of what I had always known. My high school was by no means “Asian,” but we were still 40% Asian. For a lot of my Illinois friends, they had either no Asians or only a couple in their entire schools. This is untrue of some of the suburbs (Niles, Naperville, Oakbrook, etc.), but they still had much lower percentages than my area in Northern California.
Junior year/2008 was my favorite year. I knew the most people on campus during this time, my good friends were super seniors, and it was our Rose Bowl year! Penn St, Wisconsin, at #1 Ohio St for the Block I (football cheering section) annual road trip.
Senior year was difficult at times. I started traveling a lot more from accruing so many miles throughout my years at Illinois and having my car at school. So I was always either in Chicago, Berkeley, SD, or LA, which made it hard to enjoy college since I was so impatient about transitioning into post-college life. I do regret not having cherished that time as I should have, but at least I did made a resolve to spend more time on campus during the second half of spring semester.
After college was a little crazy. I wasn’t ready to move back to California yet, I wanted to experience living in Chicago, but I also didn’t want to find myself “stuck” in Illinois. I LOVE Illinois, but I’ve always known it’s not where I would eventually want to settle down. And so I started off with the Naperville downtown Apple Store opening. I thought after that for a little bit, I would move home and put my finance degree to good use. Somehow I ended up as a manager for Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch Co.) and lived in Chicago for almost two years. That also almost took me to a two year stint in Hong Kong for Abercrombie, which didn’t work out, but, I did find my best friend there!
I ended up moving home and landing my current job. The hardest part about moving home is trying to pick up your high school friendships from where they were and finding that I was in completely different places in life than them. It took a while to really find friends that I completely trust, but these girls have really become my support system and this is the first time in my life that the majority of my close friends are female.
Quarter century birthday. It’s weird to think about how it only seemed like yesterday we were all turning 21, at the same time, I really can’t imagine being in college anymore. I’m really excited for this year and the maybe changes that I’m working toward, and there’ll definitely be more adventures in design and printing!
*Grouplove – “Colours”
Lately, I’ve been asked a lot on why I chose Illinois. My decision to go to Illinois was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I would’ve been ecstatic if I had gone to a California university, but at the end of the day, I stand behind my choice to attend Illinois and ultimately, why I did not transfer back to California. I, by no means, ever thought I would end up at Illinois, or really any other out-of-state school for that matter. I applied because my Dad told me to (pretty sure it was to live vicariously through me since he had wanted to go there for his Masters in EE–which he didn’t tell me about until after I had decided where to go). I was all “sure Dad, I’ll apply there, but I’m not going to Illinois.” Joke’s on me!
Dad took me to visit Champaign about a month before the UC school decisions had come out and even then I was skeptical of me choosing an out-of-state school. Even after I felt how right being on the Illinois campus is. Even after I read about how awesome Orange Krush and Illini Pride are. Even after I saw how amazing of a city Chicago and driving on Lake Shore Drive alongside Lake Michigan are. Even after I put down my housing deposit ahead of the final UC decisions. I still had my doubts.
My gut was so much more sure about my decision even before I was. Ultimately, the fact that Illinois had a solid business undergraduate program, Division I Big Ten athletics, and me knowing that by giving up on Illinois would be like giving up an opportunity to have a very unique college experience, is what swayed me to go and eventually stay.
Even at one and a half years into undergraduate, I entertained the thought of possibly transferring schools, but it was also around that time that I really stopped missing California so much and began to really enjoy Illinois and find myself. The great thing about going to a school where almost no one in your high school went is that you don’t end up just hanging out with just the people you were friends with for the first 12 years of school. You get to figure out the friends that you want to hang out with. I bounced around a couple different groups of people before I found my roommates, Illini Pride Exec Board, and the Word of the Day boys. Even though I was only in Illinois for six years, a lot of those friendships have already endured longer than a lot of my friendships from home. I’m glad I stuck it through in Illinois. If I had left, I never would’ve experienced winning at the Horseshoe, playing in the Rose Bowl, calling Chicago home, and I most definitely would have never met and established some of the close friendships I have today.
Everyone in California always talks about awesome living in California is. Oh really now? HOW DO YOU KNOW? Most have never stepped outside of the California bubble. I respect their decisions on staying in-state, but please don’t try to convince me why LA or SF is better than Chicago, or any other city out there because you’ve never even lived outside of this state. I love California, but I love knowing I pick to stay in California not because it’s all I’ve ever known, but because I have already lived in another state and I want to settle down in California over anywhere else.
*Grouplove – “Chloe”
Places, Things, & People I’ve Been Really Missing That I Didn’t Think I’d Miss So Much
- Driving on LSD (heading south out of the City) — best view of the skyline while driving
- Which leads me to my next point: spot by Adler Planetarium for the actual best view of the skyline :)
- The L
- Football tailgates and waiting in the freezing cold outside Assembly Hall
- Big Ten football and basketball
- Krush Roadtrips (Penn State 2007!)
- Block Roadtrips, but only if we’re kicking ass (#1 Ohio State, Nov 10, 2007!)
- Illini Pride Exec (Never have I ever, Apartment Crawls/Sits, barndances, semiformals, barcrawls)
- Thursday nights at Brother’s
- Themed Thursdays and Sunday Fundays
- The Girls of 508 E. Clark St.
- The Girls of 444 W. Fullerton Pkwy
- Three In One
- Quantum Leap
- Coldplay, Foozer, Yellowcard/Mae, OAR, Lupe, Jack’s
- Tank and Del Seoul
- Social 25
- Lincoln Park
- Molly’s Cupcakes and Bleeding Heart Bakery
- MK Chicago, Sunda Chicago, Japonais
- Millennium Park
- My Gilly Girls
- “family” dinners
- Wrigley and United Center
- My Chicago Bulls
- Portillo’s, Lou Malnati’s
- St. Patrick’s Day and UNOFFICIAL
- College Gameday
- St. Louis Season Opener Trips
- Cly’s and Joe’s
- One World & Qdoba & Geo’s
- Being on the 40yd line, the drumline, and all access field passes
- My basketball photo pass
- View Camera and 24/7 access to art labs
- Themed parties from the word of the day boys
- Barscramble and Campustown Challenge
- William Tell, Oskee Wow Wow, and Alma Mater
Except I lied. I did know that I’d miss some, if not most, of these things. Haha.
*Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”
OMG. O-HI-O was the most amazing experience of my life. Like I knew going into the roadtrip that it’d be one for the ages-because they are an amazing football school. But I never expected THIS. US, beating the #1 team in the nation. It was so surreal that I get chills still every time that I watch the highlights for the game and the fact that the Illini are plastered all over the news. We’re finally getting SOME legit recognition. It’s still hard to get it though ’cause we’re such a young program. We’ve never been a HUGE football school, even though our football team tends to do better than our basketball team. Sad really, especially with all the renovation that Memorial Stadium is seeing these days. I’m really glad now that I’m staying through the weekend for the Northwestern game ’cause it’ll be so worth it. I mean, it’s the very last home game of the season, which makes it that much sweeter. AND THEN, it’ll be on to Florida from there. I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEW YEARS! And maybe I’ll even get a kiss in this year ;). Haha, just kidding. YAY! :) SUPER SUPER SUPER-excited! :) :) :) Oh, what an amazing Saturday it was!
*Yellowcard – Lights And Sounds
So I really have not blogged in a super-long time here (sorry!). This year has definitely been a lot busier than i thought it would be. In between all the schoolwork, Illini Pride events (’cause I actually go to most, if not all the events now), 13 hours of work a week, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. And it’s going to just become tougher (homecoming float building, barndance, extra online courses to fulfill my dual degree requirements, and the overlap of fall and winter sports…) Yeah. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?
I’ve been REALLY excited about football season though! We were finally ranked / receiving votes so it’s been an amazing season. With one more win, we will be bowl-bound! But not to get ahead of myself here, no matter what, NOBODY thought we would even be 5-2 at this point in the season. Week 8 is just around the corner now so I can’t wait for Michigan and UCLA! (Cal was SO close to #1, but hey! at least the Rose Bowl is still looking great for my favorite golden bears!) Sadly though, basketball season is starting up which I hate ’cause that always means it’s the end of the football season. And it’s nearing the end of baseball season. Cubs have done extremely well and Giants are finally rid of Bonds next season :) Some one take me to Wrigley and Fenway!
Enough about sports…
The semester is halfway done with and my grades aren’t exactly where I want them to be. But I’ve been learning to study more lately so I should be able to have something decent by the end of the semester (hopefully…if I wanna keep my James Scholar Honors status. haha).
*Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light
I really should post more in this, but I don’t end up getting any sort of inspiration for doing so anymore. I think it is because the layout isn’t mine. Hence, I don’t feel like this domain/blog is mine. That would explain why it automatically directs to my photolog right now. And of course, it’s not updated at all anymore either because I don’t even have my camera with me here in SoCal (I know, sad, right?)
I’m not really sure what I want to say about this past year. It’s been really hectic and complicated (I guess, about the latter). But all in all, it’s been pretty awesome. I’ve really learned to love Illinois and I’m really excited to start my second half of college (kinda scary though that it’s already been two years). And this summer has already been really crazy ’cause a lot of my friends are graduating and whatnot, so it’s kinda like their last hurrah before the year is over and they have to move on with their lives.
I guess sometimes I’m concerned about my future. Like there’s the ever-elusive pastry-shop dream. But then again, who knows if that will ever surface. I mean, hopefully, yes. But I don’t even know if I will end up back in the bay or even in LA. It would be my hopes to, but it’s not like they actively recruit at UIUC for jobs back in CA. My grades aren’t exactly up to standards anymore either (sad, but true. oh well, it’s not like I regret the lifestyle I lead this past semester). Truth is, I haven’t had TOO much fun the first three semesters because I was afraid I wouldn’t get into the College of Business. And now, all that has kinda caught up with me. I’m scared of what the future holds, but at the same time, I can’t wait to graduate so I can get closer to my real dream job.
So another question…why am I not sleeping at 4:30am?! haha. Well, I basically couldn’t sleep ’cause I’m soo excited to finally go back to UCLA. Even if I just chill there, it’d be still so much more fun there knowing that my friends and sister are there. And I get to see / lunch with Kim tomorrow, so that should be exciting! :)
18 hours on
03 buses crossing
02 state borders with