Growing up in a college town can be a challenge sometimes because people just don't seem to understand it. I grew up in Urbana and every time I tell someone at UIUC this fact they start to ask so many questions about what it was like growing up in a college town. I am creating this article to tell you 10 things that us "townies" want you to know—and want you to stop asking us!
1. I do not know the best places to eat on campus
Okay, so I do admit that one of the best features on campus is the insane number of restaurants. However, this does not mean I spent my entire childhood investigating each and every one of them! There are a lot of good places to eat at UIUC, and the only way you will find out is if you try them! To be honest, I did not spend much of my time on campus prior to college. This is shocking to many people because the campus is all they know as a student at UIUC.
2. I also do not know where the best parties on campus are
We all know that parties happen in college, so let's not act like they don't! One of the main things that people ask me when I say I am from Urbana is, "Have you been to any of the insane parties?" Uhhhhh no...I'm sorry to disappoint, but my middle school self was not worried about partying with college students — and I am pretty positive they were not worried about me, either!
3. I still miss my family, even if they only live 5 minutes away
I left my home to go live on campus just like everyone else so yes, I miss my family. Just because they live so close to me doesn't mean I see them all the time. Sure, it is easier to visit my family than someone who is out of state, but I am still a busy college student, and I miss them a lot of the time, especially my dog.
4. Actually going to college on campus and growing up on campus are two totally different things
It is true when people say that UIUC is like a whole other city inside of Champaign-Urbana. Living in Urbana, it felt like any normal city, while living on campus felt completely different. It would be like if you grew up in inland Florida and I asked you what it is like to grow up near the beaches. It is just like a normal childhood because the university did not concern me as a 13-year-old.
5. Champaign-Urbana is not just a college town
I know that is hard to wrap your mind around, so I'll give you a second. Yes, there are other things going on in Champaign-Urbana that most college students do not know about. I think this is the main reason why I actually wanted to make this post. Because I am actually from Urbana, I know a lot more about what goes on around town and there's so much that goes on outside of campus. Whenever I talk about my high school or, more specifically the crime that occurs in Champaign-Urbana, people are shocked. "I thought Champaign-Urbana was just a nice, college town," they say. In reality, it is a lot more than that!
6. I didn't just choose this university because I live here
Ok so maybe that skewed my decision a little bit, but I chose this university for various different reasons! I did not just choose this university because it is "convenient," I chose it because it is an amazing place to be! It just so happens to be in my town, which I am not opposed to.
7. No, I do not know every single person from Champaign-Urbana
I swear the number of times I have heard this one is ridiculous. "Hey, do you know _______? He/she said he is from Urbana!" Yes, Urbana is somewhat small but that does not mean I made it my life purpose to know every single person that resides here! You may meet someone who even went to my high school, but I probably do not know them (sorry to everyone at my high school!).
8. THERE IS MORE THAN CORN IN CHAMPAIGN-URBANA
I know the corn jokes are funny (sort of), but they really aren't realistic! There is so much more here than just corn and flatlands. If you actually took the time to look around outside of campus, you would see the beautiful and historic scenery that does not include corn.
9. If you are now in Chambana, please accept that it is NOT Chicago
I constantly hear all the students from the city talk about how plain Chambana is because it is not Chicago. I understand many believe that Champaign-Urbana cannot possibly compare to the fun that is Chicago, but I would have to disagree. Both Chicago and Chambana are beautiful and fun in their own ways!
10. Lastly, us townies have a sense of community
Come for one of us, come for all. It's true. I am proud of my town, and I will happily stick up for it when the time comes. Many people neglect the fact that Chambana is its own city, with or without UIUC. I want to help show people the amount of greatness that comes with the city and the people that are from it! These 10 statements help to connect us townies just a little bit more.
I hope these 10 points helped you to understand us "townies" a lot more and maybe even sparked your interest to learn more about Champaign-Urbana as a city rather than a college town! Don't get me wrong, Champaign-Urbana is an awesome place to live, but there's a lot more to it than UIUC!