An Insider Look At The Life Of A Busy UIUC Student

Hey there, Illini fans!

Today’s post is something a bit different. Many of you know that I am a 3rd year advertising student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Being in college has been the absolute best change of my life; I love it here. I wanted to share with you a taste of what my life looks like right now, so here we go!

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Some image-related disclaimers: all of these photos are from my junior year (unless specified), most from this current semester. These were taken on my phone, either on the camera or Snapchat. Also, you take more photos when you are out and about having fun; when you’re working or in class you don’t really take photos.

The intention of this post is to be real, not an Instagram aesthetic, so keep that in mind!


Life As An Advertising Student 

Becoming an advertising major is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. I absolutely love my classes, my professors, and the college of media. I love being an Illini in general, but a lot of the best parts of my experience here have been because I’ve been in the college of media.

At UIUC, the “work hard, play hard,” philosophy is really embodied in most students. Later on we will talk about the “play,” but I wanted to start with the “work,” because that’s what you come to college for. There are early mornings and late nights, tight agendas, long to-do lists, and LOTS of coffee. It’s a lot of work, as it should be, but being here has helped me grow in ways that I could have never imagined academically, professionally, and personally. I put in really long hours, but it’s already paying off.

I’m currently in 5 in-person classes, and 1 online class. I’m in advertising content creation, global advertising, principles of marketing, self-publishing & digital branding, gender in popular media, and community health online!

In this section of the post, I wanted to give a shoutout to one of my professors, Mark Wolters. Mark has a really cool blog and YouTube channel all about travel called Wolters World. I’m in Mark’s principles of marketing (BADM320) class right now, and he’s been an awesome supporter of this blog in the short time that I’ve known him! The selfie you’ll see below with him is proof that there absolutely are professors, even in big lecture hall courses like BADM320, care about your success here, even if it is a huge school. Be sure to check out Mark’s YouTube channel, which recently hit half a million subscribers!

I’ve had some absolutely amazing professors in my time here, and this semester I am really lucky to have a great relationship with each of my 5 professors. They all have read my blog before and actively support me, which is something I am so thankful for. My academic advisor is also extremely supportive of my blog, of my professional goals, and just me as a person. Talk to your professors, kids! They’re cool people, and usually really want to be an active part of your journey to success!

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Greg Hall is where every college of media student lives. This building is home for us.
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Early mornings, part 1.
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Early mornings, part 2.
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Late nights in Greg (this isn’t late, by any means. But this is the only photo of a late night at Greg that I could find). I’ve had multiple professors encourage turning in assignments before they’re due under their office doors, so that’s what I was doing here.
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Late nights leaving the Undergrad Library (I was waiting for the bus in this photo).
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You’ll always find me working on my laptop with a coffee.
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My study space switches between various libraries, campus buildings, and coffee shops every day! The last picture was in Starbucks, so I needed to include one in Espresso Royale because they’re both very important places to me.
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These are my friends Grace & Katie. Us three, plus our other friend, Katy, have a little squad in our advertising content creation class. In media classes, I always have a squad of friends to sit with, and a lot of the people in the class end up being friends!
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This is Mark, my marketing professor! Only the best would take a selfie with a student at 7:55 in the morning. Be sure to check out Wolters World!

Beyond The Classroom 

Aside from coursework, I’m pretty involved on campus. I have been in different organizations throughout my time here, but this year I’ve been really involved in the American Advertising Federation (AAF).

AAF really is a #AAFamily – I’ve made so many friends through both the professional and social aspects of the organization. I’m in the multicultural agency (Pangaea), the public relations agency (AdBuzz), and the diversity leadership council within the organization, and I’m going to be on the executive board next school year as one of the Vice Presidents being in charge of Pangaea. I’m thinking of writing a special post just on AAF, but this is an organization that I recommend anybody interested in media joins. I’ve met so many wonderful people, gotten real client-work experience (which has been super gratifying), gained amazing professional opportunities, networked a ton, and enjoyed a lot of awesome social events.

The Spread Magazine is the other thing on campus that I am super involved with. I started as a writer my freshman year, joined the editing staff as the pop culture editor my sophomore year, moved up to the co-editor position this year, and I will be the editor-in-chief during my senior year. The Spread’s content is very complementary to the style of content that I write on IIB, it’s written by UIUC students on a wide range of fun lifestyle topics. Go give it a read, y’all! My latest article was on the comeback of the Jonas Brothers.  The Spread has a smaller, tight-knit staff and my current editor-in-chief, Madison, has become one of my great friends throughout our three years working on the magazine together!

Since I am a junior, I’ve been applying to internships for a few months now. Once I figure everything out, I will be writing a post with advice that I’ve learned. I feel like I’ve grown a ton professionally in the past few months through applying to different positions, getting my résumé reviewed countless times, learning how to write good cover letters, networking a lot (both in person and via email or LinkedIn) with alumni and professionals in the media industry, visiting agencies, and more.

Blogging is also a big part of my life, as you know if you’re a reader here! Being a blogger in addition to everything else that I do can be challenging to balance at times, but it’s my passion project which I would never dream of not doing in some capacity or another. I’m currently in an English class here that is all about self-publishing and digital branding, and I’ve been working on improving IIB in that class. Huge shoutout to my professor, John Gallagher, who I’ve had for three semesters now. His classes have taught me SO much, and he has also been a supporter of this blog since the first semester that I had him.

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These are some of my agency teammates in Pangaea! Elena, whose art was featured in my last post, and I met at Pangaea!

 

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These are my teammates on the account that I’m working on this semester in Pangaea, Grace & Katherine!
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These are some of my teammates on the account that I’m working on in AdBuzz! AdBuzz is a much bigger agency, so I don’t have any full agency photos. But our team is the largest in the agency, and we’ve all become great friends!
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James and I are the account managers on our AdBuzz account, and we spend a lot of time both with our team, as well as with our client! James and I didn’t know each other before we worked on this account together, and now we are close friends!
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Our AdBuzz client’s team has been extremely kind toward our whole team, and they often invite us to fun events that they host! This was at Thanksgiving.
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These are a few of my Pangaea teammates and I at a networking event in Chicago at Schafer Condon Carter!
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This is my good friend, Hitomi, the current Pangaea VP, passing on her wisdom to me for when I move into her role next school year!
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AAF friends taking on networking in Chicago!
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In the past two months, I’ve visited 6 advertising/PR agencies in Chicago. 5 of those visits were arranged through AAF! This one was at Cramer-Krasselt.
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In advertising, you sometimes wear business casual and sometimes ‘advertising casual.’ This is the outfit that I wore when I visited Leo Burnett in Chicago with the dress code of ‘advertising casual.’

 

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This is Madison, one of my good friends and the current editor-in-chief of The Spread Magazine! At the end of the month, her and I always choose a different coffee shop or restaurant to make our office for a few hours while we prepare everything for the magazine’s monthly publication!

Friends & Fun 

UIUC gets the rep of just being a party school. While it definitely does have a lot of party options, there is so much to explore around downtown Champaign and downtown Urbana. Downtown Champaign is a bit more like a four street chunk of a calmer neighborhood in Chicago, while downtown Urbana has a bit more of a chill, small-town vibe. There are also a lot of fun restaurants in campustown, and there are ALWAYS really cool events going on every weekend for students. There are lots of concerts featuring small artists, as well as the occasional big artist (I saw Green Day, Mike Posner, and Lupe Fiasco my freshman year for $30 each). There are a lot of different kinds of performances, sporting events, and cultural events going on at all times of the year. We have a beautiful Japanese garden that was gifted to the school by alum Nick Offerman from “Parks and Recreation,” and that’s a really cool place to spend a spring afternoon! I didn’t start going to bars until this year, but that’s also something that a lot of people here do for fun. I think that there is absolutely a way to be responsible about having fun while going to bars, and I like to pride myself on the choices that I make when I go out.

I live in an apartment, and I lived in one last year as well. I’ve lived with the same roommate from the dorms freshman year, so we’re almost done with our third year of living together and we are living in this same apartment for our senior year. I’d like to write a post specifically about apartment life in the future, so stay tuned for that! If you are curious about dorm life, though, here is my dorm tour from my freshman year. For reference, I lived in Hopkins Hall in the Ikenberry Commons. 

Keep in mind, these are a few of the thousands of photos I have from my past three years here. It was hard to choose!

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This is my roommate, Sia! She was my first friend at UIUC. This photo was taken at PokeLab on campus!
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This photo was taken at AAF barn dance in October, where Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” was being promoted for one of our client teams! These are my friends Nyrasia, Bri, and Monica!
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This is my friend, Saadia! She’s one of the few friends from high school that I still hang out with regularly! On this day, we were at an open mic night at the Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant on campus by the cultural houses!
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These are my friends Alec, Michael, and Grace! This was taken at AAF’s halloween party!
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This photo was taken by the station in downtown Champaign! Let me know if you’d like to see a guide to Downtown Champaign post!
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These are my friends Sia and Aamir at a party at my apartment!
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This photo was taken by the Blind Pig in downtown Champaign! This is an awesome photo spot in that area both during the day and at night!
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This is my friend Nyrasia and I at Kam’s – one of the classic party bars on campus!
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This is the main quad. This was taken early one morning, but in the spring and fall it’s really nice to lay there if you want to relax between classes!
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These are my friends Becca, Grace, Sam, and Aubrey, and this night we spent at Legend’s!
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I LOVE trying new coffee shops! This was taken at Caffe Paradiso!
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This is my sweet friend, Edis! This photo was taken at SCC at an AAF networking event, and we are going to be on the exec board for AAF next year together!
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These are my friends Sam, Grace, Nyrasia, and I at Red Lion (my favorite bar on campus)!
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I had this dinner at The Bread Company on campus on a Saturday night with my friends Saadia and Michelle! I had the pesto artichoke pizza (on the left), and it was amazing!
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These are my friends Samarth, Pranita, and I celebrating Holi (the Indian festival of colors) last spring!
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Every year, TEDxUIUC has an amazing conference put together in the spring! This year it fell on mom’s weekend, so I took my mom with me! I’ve been to the conference the past 3 years, and I’ve loved it each time!
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These are my friends Saadia, Michelle, and I on halloween! I was a Spanish soccer player, but you can’t see the logo on the jersey because of my hair!
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This is my bedroom this year!
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We all love a good weekend morning in bed watching Netflix, am I right?

Please be sure to let me know if you want more of an inside look at a specific aspect of my life, or what I eat at college or wear at college! It’s hard to go so in depth in a long post like this one!

I hope this was a helpful and fun look into what life at UIUC is like! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment them below or reach out to me on social media. I am always more than happy to help!

With so much love & ILL-,

indira-number-1

 

 

 

 


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