Handy Facebook Pages

By Lily Villa

Social media can be a huge distraction to college students, but it can also be rather helpful, especially for those making a transition to a new school. The following are Facebook pages that I’ve found helpful in my time as a U of I student:

First up is “Free and For Sale at UIUC.” One thing that my roommate and I used this page for was to look for furniture or kitchen appliances and such prior to moving into our apartment. It’s a good idea to give this page a browse before heading to the store and buying things. The people on this page are students as well, and are likely to bargain with you on prices because they’re trying to get things off their hands. Additionally, many people sell their textbooks and other school supplies on this page, so you are likely to find something you may need. The list of things for sale is really endless, so I recommend that it be one of the first places you look.

Another useful page is “Easy Classes at U of I !!!!” (yes, 4 exclamation marks). This page gets very popular at the end of the semester, when everyone is starting to think about the next semester’s classes and putting a schedule together. I HIGHLY recommend you add this page, as it will give you real, first-hand feedback from students who have taken certain classes. Students are happy to share their experiences on different classes. If you’re skeptical about a class to register for, just ask, and surely someone who has taken it will give you their opinion. It’s important to give yourself a well-balanced schedule each semester by spreading out your load of challenging courses, and it’s useful to get other people’s outlooks on what the classes are actually like. Reading course descriptions is important, but it’s nothing like getting a real perspective from someone who took it.

The last page I’ll mention is “Champaign Closet Recycle.” This page is essentially a mall at your fingertips. This page is where you’d go if you were looking to add to your closet, or even clean it out. You’ll find shoes of all kinds, lightly-worn shirts and dresses, winter coats, Illini gear—you name it. Again, the prices are almost always negotiable, and you don’t have to go far to get your new apparel. Keep in mind you are buying from a stranger, so it is important that you do any exchanges safely by meeting in a public place, and even bringing a friend along if you can.

Hope these pages are as useful to you as they’ve been to me!

Apartment Living 101

By Lily Villa


Getting out of the house and finally becoming independent is something I feel a lot of college students look forward to. Living in an apartment is nice because you can essentially do whatever you want whenever you want. Though it’s not always as easy as we’d like, it is something you’ll learn from and get better at.

Since I graduated from a community college in Chicago’s western suburbs, I lived with my parents for the first two years of my college career. Sometimes it was a hassle to drive back and forth from class to work to my house every day of the week, but eating homemade food after class almost made it worth it.

That’s probably one of the first things you’ll miss about home once you move into your apartment. You’ll get to the point where you run out of places to eat on Green Street, or you’ll notice that all your money is going to fast food. I won’t say I’m a chef and cook gourmet meals for myself every day, but I’ve learned enough in the kitchen to get by. Doing grocery shopping and stocking up on pastas, soup, bagels, and cereal ends up being less expensive (and probably healthier) than buying Jimmy John’s every day.

Another thing I’ve learned thanks to living in an apartment is the value of getting out and getting involved. I’ve never lived in a dorm room, so I can’t speak on that, but I know most students who have, ended up meeting most of their friends on their dorm floor or complex. Having your own bedroom in an apartment is nice, but it is not as easy to meet or interact with people if you never get out. Luckily, there are so many clubs and organizations at U of I that already exist that you can become a part of. All it takes is to have that motivation to get out!

Last but not least: roommates. Getting along with your roommates is essential to living in an apartment. I say this because you’ll have to share common areas like a kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I live with two other girls, and we have learned how important it is to make sure everyone’s on the same page with cleaning responsibilities, general “house rules,” and that rent and bills are taken care of. My biggest advice is to be vocal with your roommates, and express any concerns early on so they don’t become bigger problems later on.

Living in an apartment can be enjoyable, or it can be hectic- it all depends on how you approach it. For me, it was something completely new, but I’ve definitely gotten the hang of it, and so will you!

Useful Phone Apps

By Lily Villa


Lily Villa is an Advertising major and a member of TAG & AAF.

When I first moved on campus this fall, my roommate, who had been here for a year, said, “You might want to download the bus app.” Oh boy was she right. “CU Buses,” and its counterpart “Illini Bus” are both apps you can pull up on your phone that make taking the bus so much easier. For one, you can select from all the listed bus stops and it’ll tell you how many minutes away the buses are. Not all bus stops are marked with signs or benches, so if you don’t know the bus stops, like I did for a while, you can pull up a map that indicates the stops near you, and shows you how long you have until it arrives. At some point, you’ll learn which bus stops and routes you use most often, and can add them to your favorites for easy access. Illini Bus also lets you pull up a map that shows just how far the bus is from your stop, that way you know how long you can stay indoors before it leaves you behind. Trust me, this becomes essential as it gets colder.

Zondr is an app that I also found to be useful in a different way than the bus app. This one lists all the bars on campus and information that could be essential. It shows you what the male-female ratio is, how long the line is, how many people are already in there, and how much you have to pay to get in (important to know beforehand in my opinion.) You’ll also see what the drink specials are for the night as well food specials. I strongly recommend getting to Brothers early for Wednesday night wings. You’d be surprised how long you have to wait when so many college kids want 25 cent wings.

Lastly, I’d like to mention the U of I’s own app. By simply searching “Illinois,” you’ll find most information you could ever need as an Illinois student. The most essential feature is probably the map, which makes it easy to find what buildings your classes are in. Seeing as campus is really big, it’s no fun being lost on the first day of each semester- it’s either unbearably hot, or freakishly cold. The Illinois app also gives you news and events from all the colleges, so you don’t have to feel out of the loop as a new student to campus.