10 People You'll Definitely See If You're At The Illini Union

10 People You'll Definitely See If You're At The Illini Union

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Ahhh the Illini Union... a place near and dear to so many hearts here at The University of Illinois. From Starbucks and Auntie Anne's to a bowling alley and a computer lab, the Union has so many great things to offer. With all these different things going on in one building, it's a very diverse crowd. Although you may see a few familiar faces if you go often, you're mostly surrounded by hundreds of strangers. Some are there for the same reason as you and others, well who knows why they're there. Regardless of who these people are, you're sure to come across at least a few of those appearing on this list during your trip to the Union.

1. The person playing the grand piano

Spongebob playing tiny piano

We all know this person. They come into the nearly silent front room overlooking the quad and start tapping their little fingers on those keys. Most of the time, this can be soothing or eventually, you'll drown it out and forget there's even someone playing, or perhaps you brought your headphones! Lucky you! For those of us who forgot our headphones on our nightstands because we were watching "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie" in bed last night and forgot to put them in our backpacks *sigh,* we'll have to enjoy whatever piece of music that practicing musician has to offer. If this person is you, play as much as your little heart desires.

2. The person playing the grand piano...downstairs

Ross playing Piano

So this person is pretty similar to the last person, but they have an edge. They don't want to play in complete silence. They don't care if you listen to them playing or not. They want to watch you scarf down your Blaze Pizza you waited 35 minutes to get while they play.

3. The person taking up the six person table, by themselves

Donald Glover

I get that there aren't always too many tables, but if you're taking up a larger table and a smaller table opens up, consider moving! Obviously, it's annoying to move your stuff and get up, but it'll be a nice gesture to a group of people who need that table. A four-person table is one thing, but if you're taking up a table that big, expect strangers to make themselves at home on the other end.

4. The person that has clearly been there for more than 8 hours

Tired kid

The dark circles, messy hair, granola bar wrappers, and an empty coffee cup or three are all signs of this person. They probably waited until the day before to start really studying the exam material or maybe they're an engineering major and that's just what life is normally like. Either way, this person is stressed, tired, and wants to go home, so when you see them, give them an encouraging smile.

5. The person scrolling down social media while their textbooks remain untouched across the table 

Scrolling Tumblr

They've been there for at least forty-five minutes, and their books haven't even been touched. Everyone procrastinates in their own way! If this person wants to walk all the way to the Union to get nothing done, at least they got their steps in. This person does get annoying when the tables are running low and they're wasting a valuable seat. They're probably looking up study tips though, right?

6. The person staying at the hotel who wants nothing to do with the students


You only ever catch a glimpse of this person. They get off the elevator and immediately head to the door. They don't want to make eye contact with anyone and would much rather take an Uber to a different Starbucks if that means avoiding the Union. They're normally carrying bags for their stay in or out, and it's really funny when their rolling suitcase gets caught on the door's threshold. Bon voyage, Champaign!

7. The person selling baked goods for their RSO by the door

Eating brownie

You see this person, then you don't. No, they didn't disappear, you're just avoiding eye contact. "I don't have any cash!" you say. You hear, "that's fine! We're accepting Venmo." You freeze because you don't know what to say, and you definitely don't feel like spending any money on their cake pops. You respond "I'm sorry, I'm gluten free!" to which they respond "we have gluten-free items too!" Now you're sitting in the union eating your $4.50 gluten-free brownie that tastes like dirt and you hate yourself and that RSO member.

8. The person eating Qdoba at the table next to you

get in my belly

Qdoba is one of the many food options at the Illini Union. You're bound to get stuck sitting by someone who decided it was a good idea to bring their food upstairs so they could continue studying. You can smell it from your table and you can't help but glance over at it. They're mindlessly eating away while writing their paper, meanwhile, you sit there in envy while you pick the pieces of gluten-free brownies out of your teeth.

9. The person on a bathroom break during a conference

bathroom break

They're walking slow, on their phone, and look dead inside. In reality, they've probably been at that conference all day and just want to go home or they're part of organizing the event and they're annoyed with whatever problems they may have run into. That bathroom break is about the only time they'll have to be alone and they just want to enjoy it. It's the little things in life.

10. The person passing through the Union to decrease their time outside in the cold


They're walking down either main hallway, probably rubbing their hands together, and blowing warm air into their scarf. Their face is wind-burnt and their glasses are fogged. They just walked from the Engineering Quad, and now they're headed toward the South Quad, so they'll take any second indoors that they can get. You'll only see them in passing, so be thankful you're not headed out in the cold behind them.

You may not encounter these people all in one trip, but they're all there. Who knows, maybe you are one of these people and that's nothing to be ashamed of. We all have RSO commitments and Pinterest boards to maintain. There's more of these people there than you think. Next time you find yourself in the Union, look around.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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5 Ways That I Got My Life Together...Sort Of

Five simple ways to help you feel more in control.


If you are someone like me, college can be very intimidating. It's a time filled with making new friends, joining clubs, and discovering yourself. It can be extremely overwhelming sometimes and it may seem like your whole life is out of control. Here are a few ways I have learned how to keep things under control and make it feel like your life is put together.

1. Clean your room.

Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash

One of the easiest ways I have found to help me feel more in control of my life is to clean my room. Depending on how messy it is it may take five minutes or it may take longer. After I spent about two hours cleaning mine, I immediately felt like my life was less chaotic than it was before. This is a very easy way to help you feel more in control of your life. It costs no money and may even help change your outlook on life. It feels really good to come home to a clean room after a long day.

2. Ditch the caffeine after 2 pm.

Photo by Jessie Beck on Unsplash

For all the coffee drinkers out there this one may not seem particularly glamorous. It's easy to drink coffee all day and stay up all night writing a paper you forgot about, but for me, that was how I completely messed up my sleep schedule. I relied heavily on late-night caffeine to help me stay up and work on those assignments that I procrastinated. However, my sleep schedule was so off that I ended up sleeping through my morning classes. I was wasting o much of the day being asleep and it caused my life to spiral out of control. When I cut caffeine out of my afternoons and nights I found that it was much easier to not only fall asleep but stay asleep and wake up in the mornings refreshed

3. Buy (and use) a planner.

photo by Karolina Grabowska

When the school year first starts, I try to be as prepared as possible. I buy a planner every year but when it gets to be the middle of the semester and things are moving full speed it's easy for me to forget all about my planner and have my school work begin to get lost. Don't underestimate the power of a planner. This can be a great tool to lay out your homework, work schedule, and any other events or deadlines that you may have coming up. This low-cost tool can do wonders if you are adamant about keeping up with it. I've found that keeping a written schedule all in one place can help alleviate stress and help with time management.

4. Stick to a budget.

Image by Peter Fertig from Pixabay

Money can also be a huge stressor. Tuition is expensive enough and for me, that doesn't include the cost of my apartment, groceries, and gas. Making and sticking to a budget can help make sure that you're not wasting your paycheck. When you get your paycheck, budget out how much you can spend on food, gas, and other expenses you have. Make sure to set a little money aside for fun. By doing this, you are making it much easier for you to know what you have to pay and when. It's also always nice to have a little money sitting around just in case because life happens and you never know when a little extra cash might come in handy.

5. Get up and get moving.

Photo By Viktor Hanacek

It's so easy for me to wake up at a decent time and then spend the next three hours laying in bed scrolling through social media. By the time I get out of bed, I feel like the day has been wasted and I have no energy to do anything. There is a very simple fix to this and its simply to get out of bed. I've found that if I make myself get up and go to the gym I have so much energy for the rest of the day. Working out is a very simple way to get your day started. Even if you're not feeling up to a full-blown workout, go for a walk and get some sunlight. Get up and get moving early and it can give you the energy that you need to make it through the day

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