By Madison Gillespie
It’s hard to believe that the summer flew by so fast, here and gone before the first drop of melting ice cream could hit the pavement! While this time away from school has been full of new adventures, there is something exciting about returning to campus after a three-month absence. Orange and blue is abound on the Quad and all of the familiar buildings and paths are waiting to be rediscovered. No matter your year in school, there is always plenty to look forward to each year. Here are some of the many things I cannot wait for this fall:
1.) Long walks around campus.
UIUC has one of the most beautiful campuses for exploring. From the emerald stretches of fields framed by trees, to the glimmering creek running through the Bardeen Engineering Quad, to some of the more architecturally fascinating buildings (like the BIF, pictured above), the university is a rich feast for the eyes and senses. Nothing beats an evening walk with the sun setting, the first chill of fall creeping into the air. Chances are, you’ll even find some areas of campus you haven’t experienced before.
2.) Relaxing on the Quad.
Whether you’re catching up with friends or just trying to find a new place to read or study, the Quad is the perfect place to go. This is especially true in early fall when the weather is between seasons, making it possible to stretch out in a hammock, have a picnic, or sit outside on your laptop comfortably for hours. And there’s no shortage of cute puppies, Frisbee tossing or food booths on the Quad this time of year either.
3.) Moving into a new apartment.
After living in dorm rooms the size of shoe boxes freshman year, it’s exciting to upgrade to an apartment. But it’s even more thrilling to move into a brand new apartment, especially one that you and your friends had sought out the the previous fall. After the stress of apartment hunting and signing leases, nothing is better than getting the unit you love and making it your own. All your hard work as a college House Hunter will soon pay off!
4.) Seeing all of my college friends again.
One of the best parts of college is the people you meet every year. You may meet some students in a class and never see them again, but others will quickly bloom into lasting friendships. After several months apart, reuniting in the fall and catching up with old friends is the best feeling.
5.) Study dates in Espresso Royale.
A local favorite on campus, Espresso Royale is a strong contender to Starbucks with its robust coffees and soups, soothing teas, and a scrumptious array of baked goods and sandwiches. Each of its locations has a comforting, rustic feel, perfect for studying after class. I can’t wait to settle down at one of their painted round tables with a warm latte and mocha brownie in hand, ready to knock out some work.
And, last but not least…
6.) The SQUIRRELS.
UIUC simply would not be UIUC without its population of overly friendly, fuzzy squirrels. Watching them scampering around the Quad is always an adorable sight, enough to bring smiles to the faces of many students. If you are lucky and patient enough, you may just have the chance to feed one this fall (word on campus is that they tend to like popcorn), which could be a fun goal for your college bucket list. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of squirrels, after seeing them 24/7 throughout the school year, just seeing one anywhere will remind you of your life and adventures at the University of Illinois.
Image of Altgeld Hall used in featured graphic is from admissions.illinois.edu
Graphic edited and created by Madison Gillespie