The college making decision was nothing but easy--I was down to two amazing schools, journalism programs, and marching bands, but in the end, as I prepare to finish my first semester of college in Champaign, IL, I could not be more happy with the school I chose--the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here are some of my top reasons I am in love with UIUC, the best school in the Big Ten.

1. The Marching Illini

The Nation's Premier College Marching Band has given me a college experience like no other. With it, I have established lifelong friendships, learned critical time management skills, and had the most fun while marching at all hours of the day with my 375 person family.

2. The location

During my college search, one of the most important factors for me was staying close to home. I wanted to have the option to come home on occasional weekends, and loving my hometown to begin with, it would have been too hard and too far out of my comfort zone to go somewhere farther than two and a half hours away.

3. Big Ten conference

I grew up as a Purdue fan my entire life, cheering on Big Ten teams for as long as I can remember. I love being on a big campus, having a large student population, going to live sporting events, and having a fun college town environment throughout the Champaign-Urbana area.

4. Newman Hall

I could not be happier with where I'm living. Newman has the best food, greatest staff, an amazing sense of community, and the location could not be better as it is a 30-second walk to the Quad!

5. Green Street

Late study night and forgot to eat dinner until 10 p.m.? Green Street. Realize you are out of dorm snacks and need more chips in your room? Green Street. Themed party over the weekend and need a Hawaiian shirt? Green Street.

6. Memorial Stadium

Yes, every student on campus is aware of our football team's standings, but that doesn't hold us back from attending games at Memorial Stadium as we cheer the Illini on to a hopeful victory! The atmosphere between the fans, alumni, the student section, and band section builds throughout the stadium, making the games more enjoyable and fun for everyone, even on those 20 degree days.

7. Concerts at the State Farm Center

Being two hours from Chicago, a lot of singers will stop in Champaign on their way to other big city stadium concerts, meaning student priced tickets to some of the best names in music, like Dan and Shay this past October.

8. Teachers, professors, and classes!

In my experience so far, I have enjoyed classes, and I am glad I have the professors and TAs that I do! They are all knowledgeable, accommodating, and caring, showing that they only want the best for their students as we prepare for internships, jobs, and careers after college.

9. Krannert Performing Arts Center

Krannert is home to six different theaters and performance venues. Whether you're catching a play, concert, or anything in between, the performances at Krannert are always top notch, and I love having a lively and modern performing arts venue on campus.

10.  ILL!

INI! Yell this anywhere you go and you're sure to get a response. Illini are everywhere because here, you are connected with global companies and partners to help you get where you want to be, and because of that, Illini are found worldwide. ILL!

I'm so thankful to be attending a world-class university like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. There's no other school I could picture myself at because of all the amazing experiences I have had here during my first three months living in C-U. Go Illini!