The quintessential college experience
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend the University of Illinois, and perhaps any other Big Ten Institution, read this: “A True College Bar.”
As a grad student at Boston University, I felt that the undergrads were robbed the true college experience. Awesome as it was to be at a city school (means I could keep living here after school ended!), that meant there was no campus. Boston University – minus the Med. programs – is a string on buildings that runs along Commonwealth Avenue, which is a high-traffic street in Boston. There’s no quad, and even sadder, undergrads refer to the one patch of visible grass as “the BU Beach.”
U of I is the ultimate in stereotypical college experiences. Because the campus sits on the line of two cities, Champaign and Urbana, we call the geographic area formed by the campus “Campustown.” All the students live within a 20-minute radius from campus, which meant you could walk just about anywhere.
It has the biggest sorority/fraternity system in the country, so those parties you see in movies are actually real. In contrast, it also houses one of the largest library systems in the country, and around finals time, you can run into the entire population of the school stressing out at the Undergrad, our underground library.
Looking back, I had a relatively tame college experience. I didn’t participate in the Greek system, didn’t skip too many classes, and turned of my work in on time. I had close groups of friends, and I spent most of my time with them.
Yes, I did take advantage of my surroundings. Most Thursday nights, you could find me at Murphy’s, the quintessential Irish pub, where you could a pint of Woodchuck for $2 or a double-Bacardi drink for $4. And on Saturdays, I was probably at one of those sticky-floored bars. I napped at the Union and the Undergrad, and in the springtime, I sat on the Quad and watched people play Ultimate Frisbee. I only wish sometimes I had taken more advantage. I took for granted all of the amazing activities, resources – people and things, and just general freebies that were so easily accessible to us.
Of course I looooove being a grown person, with a full-time job, and even enjoy having responsibilities. But sometimes I miss those lazy Sundays with my roommates, friends for life.