College of LAS News
- All 2013 News
- News Archive
- Email Newsletter
- LASNews Magazine
- Class Notes
Marketing and Media
Faculty Honors and RSS Feed
Words of the Ridiculously Wise
They came to U of I. They conquered. They learned Japanese while they were at it.
Another academic year has ended, and you know what that means: It’s time to be regaled with stories of college graduates so outstanding that, unless you’re their parents or grandparents, you might simply choose not to believe it.
How, you might ask, does someone major in mathematics and linguistics, preside over Honors Student Council, create a student peace organization, get promoted to student supervisor at dining services, and get accepted to graduate school at the University of Chicago, all while becoming proficient in Japanese and the art of Japanese flower arranging?
“People ask me if I sleep,” says Melinda Porebski, the graduating senior who, you should know, has documented proof to back up these achievements. “I get a good amount of sleep. I think I figured out how to structure my time.”
Groan if you will, but the truth is that graduates such as Porebski are out there and itching to lend their talents to a good cause. Hio Lam Lao, for example, arrived at the University of Illinois in May 2008 the same way as countless other international students, by stepping off the bus at the corner of Wright and Green streets in the rain with nothing but two suitcases and lots of questions.
Today, however, the memory is a fond one as she plans to graduate in December with a degree in actuarial science. Since transferring to U of I, Lao has devoted herself to both her studies and community activities, including being a teaching assistant, running the Actuarial Club’s website, leading students as they planted “urban farms” for the needy, and helping new international students settle in after arriving on campus.
“Don’t hesitate at any chance,” she says, summarizing how she approached her time on campus. “There’s a lot of resources here at the University. When there’s an application, apply for it.”
Before these graduates blasted off to save the world, we asked them for some words of wisdom. For names we turned to a list of this year’s Senior 100 Honorary, a U of I Alumni Association award that recognizes 100 seniors for achievement in leadership, academics, and campus involvement. Some 42 LAS students made the list.
We asked a small sample of them one question: What does it take to be a successful college student? Put on your sunglasses—here are their replies.
What does it take to be a successful college student?
Melinda Porebski: “Starting in high school, find your own schedule, don’t make your mother force you to do everything, really find the reason you want to do something, because that will help you not procrastinate and to set goals.”
• College activities: See above.
• Porebski (mathematics and linguistics) will attend graduate school in linguistics at the University of Chicago.
Hio Lam Lao: “My [Leadership Center coach] taught me that hands-on practice is key to developing leadership skills. Thus I started getting involved with different clubs and organizations. I learned that the secret to being a successful leader is relationships.”
• College activities: See above.
• Lao (actuarial science) plans to either study financial engineering or become an actuary.
David Spearman: “Step outside your box, and do something you never thought you would. Join all the clubs if you can! Try to never have a day where you can say, ‘I’m bored.’”
• College activities: Codirector of Alternative Spring Break, performer in musicals through Illini Union Board and Armory Free Theatre, intern for a member of Parliament in London.
• Spearman (economics and sociology) wants to work for a nonprofit agency geared toward ending economic inequalities.
Alice Foreman: “I believe that a successful student is one who takes his/her studies seriously, but also balances his/her time in a way that he/she can become involved in campus events at the same time.”
• College activities: Campus Honors Program, Interfaith in Action, numerous other volunteer activities.
• Foreman (Earth systems, environment, and society) plans to work for a nonprofit agency in Chicago.
Roveiza Irfan: “The only way we can utilize our education to benefit society is if we engage in activities that allow us to apply our learning in a productive manner—like participating in research or service work, among numerous other things.”
• College activities: Muslim Student Association, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Illini Union Board, Unite for Sight, Avicenna Community Health Center volunteer.
• Irfan (molecular and cellular biology and psychology) will attend graduate school in public health and epidemiology.
Jeffrey Yeung: “I think a successful college student is someone who has a willingness to learn, someone who can persevere, and someone who is self-aware.”
• College activities: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, School of Leadership Training, Asian American Student Conference, Resident Advisor, University of Illinois Black Chorus, Psi Chi (international honor society in psychology), Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.
• Yeung (psychology) will join Teach for America for two years and plans to eventually earn a doctorate in counseling psychology.
Christine Christopoulos: “In order to be a successful college student, you must create a set of achievable goals. It is important to know what you are working towards and to outline a path on how to obtain these goals.”
• College activities: Varsity women’s softball, Pre-Law Club, Sociology Club, Philosophy Club, Alpha Kappa Delta (International Honors Sociology Club), Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Illini Leadership Academy, Hometown Heroes volunteer.
• Christopoulos (sociology and philosophy) plans to attend graduate and law school.
Melissa Dunton: “In order to be successful in college, I think that students need to learn to prioritize their time and take advantage of the opportunities that come around. Also, it is important to stay involved and connected within the community outside of campus either by working or volunteering.”
• College activities: Epsilon Delta Professional Teaching Organization, Stratford Christian Cooperative House, U of I Club Softball, Pi Mu Epsilon.
• Dunton (mathematics) will teach at Limestone Community High School in Barton, Ill., as a math instructor.
LAS Students in the Senior 100 Honorary Class of 2010
The Senior 100 Honorary is a U of I Alumni Association award that recognizes 100 seniors for achievement in leadership, academics, and campus involvement.
Eric Anderson (English); Racquel Ardisana (integrative biology); Samarth Baskar (international studies); Josephine Chambers (integrative biology honors); William Christensen (molecular and cellular biology); Christine Christopoulos (sociology and philosophy); Sara Cline (political science); Clarissa Coyle (psychology); Cheryl Cwik (molecular and cellular biology); Melissa Dunton (mathematics); Christina Faklis (communication and English); Alice Foreman (Earth systems, environment, and society); Sara Furhop (molecular and cellular biology); Toni Funk (international studies); Heather Smith Grattan (English and rhetoric); Melissa Gold (English); Spencer Hart (chemistry and molecular and cellular biology); Vincent Ip (chemical engineering); Roveiza Irfan (molecular and cellular biology and psychology); Rachel Kaplan (molecular and cellular biology); Anthony Keel (chemical engineering); Brooke Kennedy (English); Kristine Klinger (integrative biology); Corinne Koopman (history and English); Hio Lam Lao (actuarial science); Stacia Miksys (sociology); Alessandra Musetti (molecular and cellular biology); Ketan Nadkarmi (molecular and cellular biology); Megan Nolan (anthropology); Allison Pillsbury (psychology and communication); Melinda Porebski (linguistics and mathematics); Joyanet Prado (psychology); Kathryn Reilly (Spanish); John Schneider (molecular and cellular biology); Samuel Siner (psychology); Nicholas Skertich (chemical and biomolecular engineering); Ashley Soriano (Spanish); David Spearman (economics and sociology); Kathleen Suwanski (psychology and gender and women’s studies); Christina Tarazi (molecular and cellular biology); Faiza Yasin (molecular and cellular biology); Jeffrey Yeung (psychology).
By Dave Evensen
More LAS News Articles
- LAS Leaders Bring Energy to the College and Community
- For Many Alumni, it’s as if Mark Leff Never Retired
- Historian Elaborates on the Integration of Baseball Beyond its Hollywood Portrayal
- Alumna Challenges the Overmedication of America
- University of Illinois Plans to Host a Confucius Institute on Campus