Explore New Study Spots

By Sarah Bransley

If you’re like me, you tend to study in the same place all the time. It can get pretty monotonous and I know I need to shake things up every once in a while. That’s why I’m going to give you some ideas for great alternative study spots.

First up, check out alternative libraries to Grainger or the UGL. The campus has a lot of them and most are pretty small. If you don’t need to access any literature or text and are just looking to study, these places are a great spot to study. You do need to be aware of the fact that they aren’t all open 24 hours like the larger libraries. Most are open until 5pm, some 9pm. A few of my favorite alternatives include the Chem Library in Noyes, the MCB Library in Burrill, the Communications Library in Gregory Hall, and the ACES Funk Library on the South Quad.

Some other great alternative study spots include coffee shops, restaurants, & bars. Everyone studies in the coffee shops, so there are numerous Espresso Royale locations on and off campus, as well as Café Paradiso in Urbana, Latte Da in some campus buildings, and others in Champaign. If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat while studying you can definitely try out Merry Ann’s, Panera, Mia Za’s, etc. Look for places that have WiFi and tables large enough to spread out some work and don’t go during peak periods (i.e. lunch or dinner rush). Bars are also pretty dead during the day and offer lunch deals which many people forget. A perfect place to study!

Another option are the random study nooks throughout campus. Many people know about the ones found on the basement and first floors of the Union, but many other buildings have them too. Loomis Lab has some benches and tables facing Green Street, the Foreign Language Building has chairs and tables lining the first floor hallway, and Lincoln Hall has an entire outdoor garden hidden in the middle of the building with benches to enjoy the atmosphere. Keep your eyes peeled when walking through buildings as they’re everywhere!

If these ideas don’t pique your interest, then I would definitely encourage you to explore the campus and ask around! Everyone has different study needs so if you’re looking to shake things up, only you know what will fit the bill. The campus is huge so there’s a lot to offer and I’m sure you’ll find what you need.

Overwhelmed? Thinking of Dropping a Class?

By Sarah Bransley

Are you completely overwhelmed and not sure where to turn? It can be difficult to know what you’re supposed to do as a new transfer student. However, LAS and UIUC have many different support systems in place to help you, you just need to reach out to them.

First and foremost, if you’re having trouble in your class, reach out to your professor! I know everyone says this, but honestly they are the one with the information on how you’re doing in the class, what the upcoming exams and quizzes will be like, and how you can do better. In fact, going to office hours or setting up another time outside of office hours if you can’t make them, shows the prof how much you want to succeed. That can only benefit you! You also have the option of learning material from the TAs if the problem is the teaching style of the professors. Keep in mind that everyone teaches differently just like everyone learns differently.

If you’re completely stressed out by classes, or you’ve had other stresses in your life come up (injury, illness, family crisis, etc) then go talk to your advisor. In Integrative Biology we have our own advisors with intimate knowledge of our major so check if you have something similar. However, it’s also perfectly fine to go to Lincoln Hall and see an LAS Advisor! Whoever you talk to, be straight with them about what’s going on, what you want out of the semester, and what you think you can accomplish. They will help you find out what options you have and offer up some advice. Very often they will also point you in the direction of Financial Aid.

If you are one of the millions of students in the US who receive Financial Aid, then before you change anything in your schedule you better talk to Financial Aid. There are a bunch of different things that can affect whether you qualify, how much you qualify for, and if you can be put on probation, or worse, denied! This can affect not only the current semester but future ones! The ladies at the front desk will typically try to answer your question if it’s a quick one, but if you’re insistent or mention your advisor sent you over, they should let you see a Financial Aid Advisor in the back.

My final word of advice to you is to be realistic and try not to be too hard on yourself. You won’t be the first person to drop a class or two, and you won’t be the last.

The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round, Round and Round…

By Mohammad Nofal

I have a chauffeur. My chauffeur’s hair changes color every night. At approximately 12:00 am, to my sore and tired eyes, it appears to be blonde, brown, or sometimes it is as grey as a rain cloud.

Actually, this hair belongs to the several people who take me home nearly every night. More specifically, I am referring to the bus drivers of the “SafeRides” program at UIUC. The SafeRides program offers university students rides home late at night, be it after a long night of partying or a strenuous night of studying at the library. Of course, it is strange for me to refer to the bus drivers of the SafeRides program by the color of their hair. But when they pick me up, I usually sit in front of the bus in the seat immediately behind theirs, so their number one distinguishing feature just happens to be their hair. But, since I have been taking SafeRides more frequently lately, I have come to know more about the drivers than just the color of their hair. Here is what I have been able to gather about the bus drivers so far: very few people know their true names, the blonde driver usually works on weekends, and the driver with the grey hair is hilarious.

As I mentioned, SafeRides is a nightly bus service for university students. Each bus is like a miniature version of the MTD buses that you see (or will see) around campus. To have a bus driver meet you at a designated location, simply call SafeRides at 217-265-7433, and this number can be found at the back of your iCard. When calling to request a pickup, I found that it is helpful to first tell the speaker that you are requesting a SafeRides pickup, and then they will immediately request your location, number of students riding with you (in case you want to ride SafeRides along with your friends), and, finally, your destination.

Granted, SafeRides will not be able to take you everywhere you wish to go at any time, because sometimes if you are near an MTD bus stop it would be more convenient for you and for the SafeRides bus drivers if you took the regularly scheduled MTD buses instead. As an example, I live at a location where the regularly scheduled MTD buses pass by until 11:30 pm each night. So if I were to request a SafeRides pickup before 11:30, I would probably be asked to take the regularly scheduled MTD bus instead. Of course, SafeRides will be happy to take me home anytime after 11:30 pm.

So the bus drivers of the SafeRides program are practically my chauffeurs. They can be your chauffeurs too. Just call SafeRides whenever you need a pickup late at night.

To learn more about SafeRides & the area it serves, visit the CUMTD website and look for the SafeRides route!