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.
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!
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!