No reason to be bored in Springfield


Photographs courtesy of Kati Maseman

One destination you could visit is the Old State Capitol Building.


There is a communication theory known as Standpoint Theory that basically outlines that each person has a unique perspective of events based on their own individual standpoint. Think of it as the age old idiom about whether a glass of water is half full or half empty. It depends on some specific philosophical assumptions, but you see it as you see it.

What can be said about that glass of water can also be said about your experience at UIS. For some incoming freshmen, the initial experience might resemble bursting forth from their high school cocoons looking to spread their wings as soon as they hit Springfield. For other new students, the process of emerging from that cocoon might take a little more time.

And there’s no wrong experience to have when it comes to successfully integrating yourself amidst a sea of strangers. Everyone has their own unique standpoint. Everyone has their own life to live without trying to adhere to some grand set of rules about how to survive at college.

Let’s be honest. There’s more to the college experience than going to class, living in a residence hall, or attending a campus sporting event. Those are three incredibly important ingredients in the recipe in building a phenomenal overall college experience, but they aren’t exclusive.

I have been in Springfield for only a year, but I hardly recognize the dude I see in the mirror now compared to when I moved here last summer from Indiana. It was the first time in my life that I actually lived long term outside of my beloved Hoosier State. I was excited to launch a new life in the Land of Lincoln, and it’s already been a life changing experience.

My days have been filled with everything from class to work to exploring Springfield, and many things in between. Of course, most students will be inundated with calls to visit our city’s most famous historical sites, and those are essential stops for any student in Springfield.

Of course, one can see those in a day or two, but what to fill the rest of your days with?

For those with an artistic bug, take a trip downtown to South Grand Avenue West to visit The Pharmacy, a local artist co-op that houses gallery shows, poetry slams, and many other creative events that are open to the public. Even for non-artists, The Pharmacy is a unique opportunity to broaden your cultural tastes while also supporting local artists.

For those with an eye on sports, the Xpress basketball team, Junior Blues hockey team, and Sliders minor league baseball team can satisfy your thirst for high-level competition beyond supporting our Prairie Star classmates in their pursuit of athletic glory.

For those interested in entertainment, Springfield is home to many fun venues for taking in a show. The newly remodeled Legacy Theater on Lawrence Avenue, as well as the Hoogland Center for the Arts, host shows each month that span categories such as concerts, plays, musicals. Prairie Capitol Convention Center also hosts several concerts, as well as sporting events, professional wrestling shows, and other local events.

If you wander off campus and hear your stomach grumbling, there are literally dozens of stellar restaurants around town that can satiate any craving. If it’s sushi that will tickle your fancy, Happy Sushi on South Grand Avenue West is a small, quaint, and most importantly delicious stop. If you want some good old-fashioned American cuisine, stop in at the Cozy Dog Inn on Sixth Street for a Cozy Dog, or at the Maid-Rite on Jefferson Avenue for an unbelievable loose meat sandwich and home brewed root beer. If it’s one of Springfield’s legendary horseshoes you desire, there are several top-notch places to visit: Norb Andy’s Tabarin, Darcy’s Pint, or Dublin Pub to name only three.

The campus at UIS is also home to several events throughout the year, and I urge all of you to get out and attend any of the events our school puts within arm’s reach. There are free events all over campus, and it’s a great way to round your college experience into more than just turning in assignments between naps.

But however you choose to tackle your experience at UIS, I urge you to make the most of it from your own standpoint. Because our campus isn’t overflowing with tens of thousands of students each day, or because our campus isn’t located in the heart of downtown, does not mean that you can’t become exactly who you want to be here in Springfield.

Your future is in your hands at UIS.