By Sarah Bransley
With as many Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) as there are at the UIUC campus, it’s hard to find the right fit for you. That’s why the bloggers from TAG are starting a series called the RSO Spotlight! Members of TAG will write about RSOs that they are active in and give insight into what is great (and not so great) about each one.
For the first RSO spotlight, I’ll be covering Integrative Illini. This RSO is specifically for, but not limited to, Integrative Biology majors. This RSO doubles as a social and academic RSO. Many events through the year include meet and greets, camping, tutoring for STEM courses, and informational meetings on undergraduate research and internships.
I like Integrative Illini because it allows me to interact with other IB majors and get help with finding research jobs and internships. The exec board is very knowledgeable about these topics and are generally happy to assist any student with questions. The only drawback I can think of is member attendance. Since IB is a smaller major, the RSO is on the smaller side and not every meeting or social event will have tons of people. I like the one-on-one interaction I get with a smaller group, but I have talked with some people who would rather attend large social events.
No matter what size RSO you are more comfortable with, I would say that checking out Integrative Illini is a must for anyone interested in biology. The access to research and internship opportunities alone is worth your time. You can see what Integrative Illini is up to by visiting this Facebook page ->
By Harsh Agarwal
Psychology Major & Member of TAG
UPDATE: As of Fall 2015, the Transfer Cluster will now be located in Scott Hall which is part of the Ikenberry Commons South neighborhood.
As we transition to another school, there is so much apprehension on where to live. There’s so many questions-“Should I get a dorm the size of my room or an apartment with some friends?” “What if I get stuck with a bad roommate?” “Will I make friends?”-I was in the same boat not too long ago. Despite gaining so much at my community college and having a fruitful experience there, after hearing some of my friends’ stories and experiences, I realized that being at a community college never really gave me what so many of my friends were experiencing at their universities; “the college experience.”
When I looked at some of my housing options, I was told that there is a cluster in one of the dorms specifically designated for transfer students. I was happy when I heard this because I knew I would already have something in common with other people and it would be easy for me to relate to them and form a connection.
So I made the decision to go with university housing for the first year and I selected Hopkins in the Transfer Cluster as one of my top choices. A few weeks later I got placed in the transfer cluster! I knew that now I would experience what my friends experienced during their years in the dorms.
As everything got settled, it turned out that everyone bonded instantly and all the apprehension I felt just disappeared! We all acknowledged the fact that we were all in the same boat and everyone was willing to get to know one another. My floor mates were very friendly and greeted each other as they walked by. We would often all go have dinner together and participate in fun events. We made our own Facebook page and kept in contact with each other through group texts using an app called “Groupme.” This way, we planned out different events we could all do together, shared some jokes, and helped each other out on various assignments. As cliché as it may sound, everyone became a family.
I can definitely say that staying in the transfer cluster the first year was a wise decision on my part. I was able to network and meet so many great people with whom I plan to keep in contact with even after the year ends. This is not to say that it’s not a wise decision to not live in the dorms the first year, because everyone is different. But if you’re looking for a fresh start and willing to meet some great, new people, the transfer cluster is an excellent place to start your journey as a transfer student at Illinois!
By Sarah Bransley
I had a unique transfer experience because I attended Parkland College, the local community college in Champaign-Urbana. I didn’t grow up in Chambana, but since I attended Parkland and made friends with students and townies alike, I got an inside look at the town and its offerings.
The first thing you need to know is that anyone who grew up here or doesn’t attend the university is considered a “townie.” Everyone else is a student. If you are a townie, there is a giant black hole in the middle of Chambana called campus. Most townies don’t visit campus unless they work there or attend school. It’s the opposite for students, because everything off campus is foreign to them.
That’s why I was lucky, having transferred from Parkland I know the ENTIRE town. Most transfers come here not knowing anyone and have to start fresh. I am happy that I knew many people here in town already because I didn’t have to work as hard to find people to hang out with.
The downside to being a townie is that I sometimes forget to interact with my classmates. I’m so used to hanging out with my own group of friends that I sometimes miss out on the opportunities to interact with my future co-workers and peers.
As for academics, I would say that the core content isn’t too much different from what you experienced at Parkland. However, the application of that information and the class set up is different. It takes some getting used to because in many aspects UIUC expects more of their students. Many classes have attendance points, they don’t remind you as often about due dates, and they also include a lot more homework and quizzes.
If you are transferring from Parkland, the best suggestion I can give you is to make sure you put in effort towards organizing your homework and making new friends. Many of your classmates already share an interest with you and some will eventually become important individuals in your field of study. My favorite thing about having friends in my major is all the extra advice and help with coursework! It’s not as hard when you have friends to work through it with you.