Google Yourself

by Sarah Bransley

As the end of the semester approaches and spring seems to finally have it’s hold over the campus, spirits seem to be slowly lifting. Everyone can see the light at the end of the tunnel, whether that’s the end of the semester, the end of undergrad, or the end of school forever! Combining the warm, fresh air with the packing that ensues at the end of every semester means that a lot of people are looking forward to a cleaning day or two in the near future. Before you grab the vacuum, think about grabbing your laptop first.

As we shift more of our activities into the technological world, our need to organize our digital lives as well as our physical lives becomes more important. For each person this may mean different things. For me, it includes going through my emails and unsubscribing from all of those websites I never look at anymore. It includes making sure my files & folders are fairly organized and backed up. It involves unfriending the people I don’t interact with anymore. It includes changing my favorites on all my media. It includes googling my own name, seeing what appears, and deciding what I want to represent myself. That last one is actually pretty important for everyone, but very few people do it.

Your digital footprint represents you not only to your friends and family but to future employers, co-workers, professors, landlords, your hairstylist, and that guy across the hall from you who you say hi to but totally forgot his name. If you’re looking for work or an internship, this is important as many employers look at social media now to gain information on prospective employees. If you aren’t graduating yet, this will put you ahead of the game. It’s important to know how you are representing yourself to the world and if you have any old or unfortunate media tied to your name.

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!

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!