Today, I attended my last class of the MSTM program, and I felt I am going to miss these classes and the privilege of being a student. When I look back at the last 365 days in MSTM, I realize the program is not just about the classroom experience and landing a job. It is a journey of knowing yourself better regarding your passions, career interests, and re-inventing yourself as a well-rounded individual. Along with the MSTM program, the UIUC campus provides ample opportunities and plays a vital role in this journey. In this blog, I would like to share the 12 best elements I leveraged from MSTM and UIUC.
First, to me, the best part of UIUC is the diversified yet unified student community and a mélange of Registered Student Organization (List of 1368 RSO’s: https://illinois.collegiatelink.net/organizations) ranging from 104 degrees Hot Tub Club, Bhakti Yoga Club to professional fraternities and international student-run consulting firms like Innovation Immersion Program (IIP). I gained a valuable experience working as a business consultant at IIP in a multi-national team spanning across four countries for a start-up client in South Korea.
Second, having the world’s largest Research Park associated with a public university is another privilege for being a UIUC student. I have leveraged this opportunity as I worked as a co-op intern at Innovation Center of Caterpillar Inc. in the Research Park on campus. Such opportunities during the semester to gain work experience and contribute to the latest researches helped a lot to hone skills in my areas of interest.
With the best amenities for any physical activity, Campus Recreational Activities at UIUC stands as my third favorite element of UIUC. With plentiful learning opportunities, I was stuck in busy schedules sometimes and the Campus Recreational Activities rescued my fitness. Other than college and work, I spent my time playing badminton, squash at the luxurious Activity Recreation Center (ARC) or trying new things like wall climbing, ice skating.
Fourthly, because of these elements, UIUC undoubtedly remains in the heart of its students, and that is the reason for its robust alumni network. From the networking events on campus, I made valuable connections with the best alumni of UIUC, who eventually became my friends and mentors. I am grateful for their support throughout my MSTM journey. Career fairs take the fifth place on my list because of the opportunity I got to pitch myself for the leaders of Silicon Valley like Facebook, Apple to the innovative start-ups of Chicago.
The practicum project which is a crucial ingredient of MSTM curriculum ranks sixth because of the advantage to experiment my classroom learning in the real world. I was lucky to work with John Deere during my practicum, and it was a great engagement working in the business areas of such established companies during my student life. Seventh, The Library at UIUC is the best weapon I used while working on any project and I feel I have not even utilized 0.01 % of the resources available. I wish I could have access to these library resources throughout my life. Adding to that, eighth, I learned a lot from the Faculty of UIUC not only during the classes but also outside the classroom as I have worked with a few of them.
Ninth, another unique element at UIUC is the abundance of volunteering opportunities. One of my memorable volunteering experiences is working with “Books to Prisoners” where I responded to letters from inmates, sending them books from the library of donated books. On the contrary, the social activities, field trips, and tons of fun brought by the Social Committee of MSTM, tenth on the list, engraved a bunch of memories during this year.
On the verge of graduation, when I close my eyes and recollect the campus, the beautiful quad and the majestic Illini Union come to my mind. I have spent most of the study time in the Illini Union and my lazy evenings are spent laying on the green blanket of grass staring at the sky, chilling with friends. Lastly, I cannot forget the feeling of a world tour of cuisines just on a single street. The unforgettable Green Street is the last and the loveliest thing on my list. No doubt this road comes to my mind whenever I am hungry searching for a reasonable place to eat and every meal hereafter reminds me of the Green Street days with my best buddies.
One year is a short time to embrace UIUC, and it is a hard thing to leave this campus. But with a positive feeling that I have made the most of this year and became a professional I am proud of. I am packing my stuff for the move-out wishing to come back to the campus as a loyal alumni. It is a wonderful feeling thinking about best feathers in the crown of UIUC and MSTM while writing this blog. I hope it is the same beautiful feeling for the person reading this now, and I appreciate your time in reading my lengthy blog till the end.