I didn’t necessarily chose Benedictine because I liked small schools. I chose it because I simply liked all that the school had to offer. I never realized how much of a small campus girl I was until I visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to see my friend. In short, visiting a Big Ten campus is like stepping into an entirely different world. Almost everything about it is different. All that they have to offer is absolutely amazing, but I definitely knew I belonged at BenU after the visit.
I’ve been to U of I twice so far, once staying at a freshman dorm and once staying in a sorority house. Each time I drive onto the campus, I’m struck by how gorgeous and vast it is. My favorite parts about the campus are probably the Quad (which is amazing to lay out in) and the old style academic buildings. All the resources they have were extremely impressive, but when I looked into the humongous lecture halls with 200 seats, I was happy I went to a school where I could actually form a relationship with my professor. Eating their is also a whole new experience. I would compare each dining hall ( yes, there are many) to a mall food court. The endless options were definitely impressive. The downfall to the massive size of the campus for a girl who has no sense of direction: You can get lost very easily! The campus has their own streets! When my friend directed me to places I needed to go by using street names, I was a little overwhelmed.
It is insanely easy to be social at a huge school like U of I. So many diverse people attend and there is literally ALWAYS something to do on campus. It’s basically its own little city. There are tons of restaurants, shops, and bars all available on campus. The fact that you could go shopping while you were still on campus kind of blew my mind. Everything is open late so you never have to worry about the campus being dead. It’s insanely easy to meet people. It seemed that in every line I stood in, I met someone new and was able to start up a conversation with them.
The one thing I experienced that I could not relate to was sorority life. Staying in the house with my friend who was a part of a big sorority was definitely a shock. They hold a lot of emphasis on image. When they go out they have to wear the correct thing and act the correct way because they’re always representing their sorority. The vocab was scary. They had a name for everything you experienced at a party. And who knew Greek letters could be so confusing? Coming from a small running team and BenU, I couldn’t imagine going out every night like they do or buying a new outfit for every occasion. Even though it was definitely a crazier experience, It’s fun to get out of your comfort zone and experience something new. I recommend everyone getting a chance to go out at a big school 🙂
Even with all that U of I had to offer, when I saw the highway sign for Benedictine University on the drive home , I couldn’t help but feel happy. I missed my little community. I missed 5 minute walks and my weird teammates 🙂 Visiting U of I is always awesome, but sometimes you have to experience something different to realize where you are is where you belong.