I am UIC: bittersweet sound of graduation

I arrived on this snowy campus in January, and like anyone whose first visit to Chicago was in the dead of winter, I wondered why I didn’t pick a school somewhere warm, perhaps on the East Coast?

I’m not gonna sugarcoat this, but my first semester in UIC was trying. Being in a new school, in a new country and on my own was arduous all around, and don’t get me started on figuring out how grade transfers, academic petitions or the elevator system in UH worked — those were challenges all on their own.

You see, college is a scary place. There’s an immense pressure to make something of yourself, as these are the days that dictate or set motion to…pretty much, the rest of your life. You get hauled into this world of performance measures, engulfed by the endless waves of grades, resumes, internships and LinkedIn. And that’s exactly how I felt: inundated.

However, as I tumbled along the stressed backwashes of student-hood, I gained more than I thought I would. I learned empathy, made the best of friends, met the most insightful mentors, grew, learned so much and shared memories. Despite the many cups of coffee I’ve consumed and mini-meltdowns I’ve had (oh, boy), I can say, and undoubtedly so, that UIC played an instrumental role in the person I’ve become today.

This weekend, I’ll get ready to walk across that stage to receive my diploma and I’m left with bittersweet sentiments. On the one hand, I’ve accomplished these 4 years — and will never have to do another group project again. On the other, I leave behind this life that I created for myself.

I’ve grown to love these old brick buildings, erratic centralized heating and crazy wind tunnels. To me, this place means more than just my upcoming diploma — it represents learning curves, intrinsic thinking, challenges, familiarity, friendships and community.

So, here’s a tiny nugget of wisdom from this graduating UIC student: enjoy your time here. UIC is more than just UIC, it’s the foundation for the great things that could happen in your life — so decide what you should make of it.

Lastly, cheers to my fellow 2017 grads! I’ll see you guys on the other side.


Trixha Wu
Trixha Wu is a full-time business marketing student and part-time fun-fact buff. Her interests vary from traveling, to puns, to the history of Vikings. When she’s not busy reading fan theories about White Walkers, she’s listening to the smooth sounds of Death Cab for Cuties. French fries are her ultimate weakness, and she spends too much time on Instagram @trixhawu

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