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.

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!

Technology Woes? Visit CITES

By Sarah Bransley


I recently spoke with a transfer student at an orientation about her troubles accessing her course website and recognized that many incoming students don’t know about our amazing IT support guys at CITES! CITES, or Campus Information Technologies ­­and Educational Services, is an amazing resource for not only for faculty but students as well.

I first interacted with CITES when trying to access the campus WiFi with my smartphone. I called their help line and they helped me figure out how to access the student-only WiFi. The guys I talked with on the phone were really polite, helpful, and got my problem figured out in less than 15 minutes! I didn’t need to call them though, because you can also email them or visit them during walk-in hours. The second time I contacted them it was because I was certain my computer had a virus. A separate program sends student workers to your home to help you fix your computer, as CITES itself does not work on student computers. However, CITES was happy to set me up with the program and get me on my way as well as offer the names of some companies in town who could also do the work.

Not everyone will have my problems with computers. Maybe you’re like the girl I spoke with and only having trouble accessing your classes online. Whether it be on Compass2G, Moodle, or any other university website, CITES can help you! Another online headache can be figuring out how to set up your school email using Gmail. CITES can also help you with that, as well as MS Exchange, Spam Control, and other email issues. Their website (shown below) has links to all of their services, including my favorite, where you can find discounted or free software and software training.

Basically CITES is there to back you up for your technology needs while on campus. If you have a problem and haven’t tried them already, check it out! They explain a lot on their website so you might not even have to contact them to solve your problem. Here’s to hoping you have no technology woes this semester!