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!
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!
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.
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!
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-,