We had an incredible Future Illini Shabbaton this past weekend, complete with delicious food, games, new faces, and even laser tag. It was so exciting to meet the high school students and share college advice and experiences with them. Speaking with them reminded me of my transition into college:
I'll never forget the moment my parents drove away in a taxi to the Pittsburgh airport after settling me into my dorm at Pitt. Suddenly, I realized for the first time in my life that I was truly on my own. I remember an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, confusion, and loneliness. Already homesick, I moped back to my dorm, wondering how anyone gets through these four years.
After transferring to U of I the following fall, I remember my parents driving away once again. Only this time, I felt excited. And once I wandered through Hillel's doors, I knew that I had finally found my place. The people I met within its walls were kind, down-to-earth, and fun to be around.
It is so important to give each and every person who walks through Hillel's doors that same feeling of warmth and welcome. You may be the difference between someone having a good day or a bad day. So next time you see a new face, introduce yourself. Reach out. Be a friend. Make a friend.
After the students from the Future Illini Shabbaton left Sunday morning, you could be sure that through the memories they built together over this past weekend, they will pass on Hillel's contagious spirit and enthusiasm. And just like I do, they will always remember it.
Vice President of Engagement