3 misconceptions I had about moving to a college town

Daria ZelenDaria Zelen is a junior pursuing a dual degree in psychology and advertising. During the school year, she works as a digital media intern for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. In her free time, you can usually find her listening to new music, embroidering her old clothes, exploring CU, or playing around with graphic design.

Choosing which college to go to as a senior in high school is quite a tough decision. You are not only deciding the location you will live in for the next four years, but the type of people you will surround yourself with and the career opportunities you will have after graduation.

My decision to move from Chicago to a campus town like Champaign came with many worries; however, after spending time on campus I realized those worries were just misconceptions.

Here are 3 misconceptions I had before moving to a college town:

1. There’s nothing to do.

Going from a big city to a small college town can be a scary experience that comes with many worries and misconceptions. However, I believe that moving to a college town for the last three years is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

When I was making my decision of whether I would attend college in a smaller town versus staying in Chicago, one of my biggest concerns was boredom or having nothing to do. However, after my first week on campus, this worry quickly disappeared. I realized in that first week that UIUC and the Champaign-Urbana (CU) community have a multitude of fun activities for all students.

U of I does an amazing job of providing things to do for their students. The university hosts many organized school events like concerts, karaoke and trivia nights, football and other sports, and more! It also has many places for students to go to whenever they are bored, such as the bowling alley and arcade at the Union or the pool at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC).

The CU community also is a wonderful place to switch things up and get out of your daily routine. From food trucks to farmers markets to events in parks, big city living is easily replicated here on a smaller scale!

2. It will be hard to make friends if you are not in a sorority or a fraternity.

Moving to a college town with the intention of not rushing a sorority scared me. I thought it would be very hard for me to make friends at such a big school without a social organization. However, once I got to campus, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was completely wrong. Everyone on campus is so welcoming and ready to be your friend, especially your freshman year. In fact, most of my best friends on campus came from my freshman year dorm experience, a time when all of us were starting a new life experience and were all open to meeting new friends.

The hundreds of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus are also great ways to find friends. My tip is to walk around the whole Quad on Quad Day, sign up for all the clubs that interest you, and then actually go to the meetings. It’s easy to make friends this way because you know you share a common interest, so you already have a few topics to talk about when starting off your friendships! RSOs also have lots of social events for people to get to know each other, which not only gives you more fun events to go to, but also more opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.

3. A campus town is not a "real world" environment for career-building.

One of my mom’s biggest worries about me moving out of Chicago to a smaller town for college was that there were more opportunities in the city than in a college town. She was afraid that I wouldn't have the same access to internships that would help me with my career or big companies that I could network with for a full-time job after college.

However, I am glad to say that my mom was wrong in her worries. U of I offers plenty of guidance to their students with their career journeys. From career fairs to company guest speakers in classes to workshops galore, students can always seek opportunities to improve their professional skills and get their foot in the door with many companies. The College of LAS itself provides students with excellent career resources; for example, the LAS Life + Career Design Lab provides a space for students to explore their interests and major and learn about what future career paths are open to them.

There are also countless jobs available to students, both on and off-campus. Whether you choose to work in dining on Green Street, a realty or other company in the CU community, or for the university like me, you can find the perfect job fit for you!

Going from a big city to a small college town can be a scary experience that comes with many worries and misconceptions. However, I believe that moving to a college town for the last three years is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Blog Source

Daria Zelen