14 (count them!) tips for a happy & fulfilled college life

Ventra U-Pass illustration1. NEVER lose your U-Pass

If you do, it’s a $50 replacement fee.

2. USE your U-Pass

UIC is located in a world-class city, so why not check it out? Chicago is home to diverse neighborhoods, renowned museums, music, sporting events and scenic views that are not to be missed.

cover of Street Wise issue 3. Get StreetWise

Before using your U-Pass to go on the ‘L,’ buy it from one of the vendors outside the entrances. Aside from the captivating articles that the magazine offers (reports from professional journalists, journalism students and vendors on homelessness, social reform, Chicago art and culture), the publication is sold by people trying to stabilize their lives and reintegrate back into society.

spark in the park logo4. Go to cheap or FREE events right on campus

While the city sparkles with high-end art and hidden music venues, students have access to those kinds of things right here at UIC. Spark in the Park is bringing J. Cole to campus Sept. 4 for a free show, and the department of theatre and music showcases student and faculty performers. The best part? The events are sold at a discounted price for students. They’re even free sometimes. Another place to explore on campus is Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St. The gallery offers exhibitions and programs.

bike lane graphic5. Bike smart

If you haven’t noticed, UIC is running a bike lane pilot study. Those bike lanes are for bikers and not pedestrians, just like sidewalks are for pedestrians and not bikers. Stick to your guided space and avoid run-on encounters.

drawing of skydiver with parachute open6. Leave your comfort zone

Here’s a classic piece of advice: try new things! This is college, a time for self-examination, exploration and independence (even if your parents require that you call once a day).

pink high heel7. Shop

Chicago, like every big city, offers multiple options for shopping. Whether it’s the chain stores on State Street, or the indie thrift shops of Wicker Park, UIC students know where to go to diversify their style. Check out the options, and of course, ask your friends for their opinion.

illustration of a taco8. Take a world food tour

Chicago has a plethora of eating options. Take-out, delivery or dine-in, it’s all out there. Better yet, Chicago has food options that showcase a variety of cultures. Taylor Street is known for its Italian cuisine, while Devon Avenue in Rogers Park is home to Indian and Pakistani foods. Go out, explore and satisfy your stomach.

illustration of Sears Tower9. Chill out

Brace yourself for this one. Try not to text or take a selfie for a full hour and enjoy your surroundings. There are some neat places on campus to see Chicago, like the BSB terrace that offers a picturesque view of the Willis Tower.

10. Safety means being aware

Students receive them, see them and hopefully won’t ignore them — crime alerts. Follow the safety rules. When walking around during evening or early morning hours, grab a buddy or two to join you. If you decide to walk alone, make sure your earphones are out of the ears. Paying attention to one’s surroundings is key. Another tip: put away those expensive goodies, like that iPhone.

illustration of a fraternity paddle11. Get involved

UIC has pages of possible clubs to join. Whether it’s Greek life, the dragon boat team or UIC radio, there’s something for everyone. Take part in your school and make some new friends. There’s an Involvement Fair that takes place bi-annually, the first happening today in the quad. Happy searching!

illustration of person saying "I have no idea what I'm doing!"12. Interesting internship

When the time comes for an internship, don’t be afraid to try something outside your discipline. Internships usually run for a semester, so if you don’t enjoy one, you have another semester to try something else. Chicago and UIC house many organizations, businesses, art centers and labs. Apply to an internship that interests you, rather than something “you’re destined for.”

illustration of a dog13. Volunteer for your community

If you’re not interning or participating in a club, how about volunteering? Animal shelters, Chicago youth organizations, film festivals, you name it and it’s there. While volunteering provides experience in community and culture development, it also looks good on your résumé.

UIC Flames logo14. Cheer on the Flames!

How about supporting your very own Flames? Home games for UIC basketball, soccer, baseball, golf, cross country, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, swimming and diving, tennis and softball are free for students with a valid i-card. Go Flames!