The Journey of a Yerd

A yearbook nerd’s reflection on doing yearbook for six years

When I was a freshman in high school, I remember filling out a form during my English class that expressed my interest in wanting to join yearbook. The form was supposed to help me determine what classes I wanted to take the next school year. At my school, yearbook doubled as an extracurricular activity and a class titled “Publications,” so it was listed as an elective on the form. I don’t remember why exactly, but I had to choose an elective from the list, so I chose Publications. I didn’t actually want to take Publications that next year, though. Signing up for yearbook would take away my lone free spot in my schedule, and I wanted to fill it with Spanish II to complete my foreign language requirement.

During my appointment with the guidance counselor when we’d determine my sophomore year schedule, she asked me about taking Publications. I told her I actually wanted to take Spanish II instead. But there was a reason I picked Publications on that form. I didn’t just pick it to pick it because I had to choose something. I picked it because I really was intrigued by the idea of helping create a yearbook and the creativity that’s required of it. And, after all, I was one of those people who had always loved getting and flipping through yearbooks.

When it came time to choose my classes for my junior year of high school, I undoubtedly knew that I wanted to stop taking Spanish and join yearbook instead. My foreign language requirement would already be fulfilled, and the extra honors credit that came along with Spanish III wasn’t anywhere near as enticing as was the chance to take a fun class for once and use my creativity in Publications. My best friend Phoebe would be in the class and so would my friend Josh. I was in no position to pass on this opportunity.

And I’m glad I did, because joining yearbook was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Read more “The Journey of a Yerd”

Illinois happened for a reason

A very recent alumna’s reflection on the opportunities of four years at Illinois

When I was applying for colleges a little over four years ago, I was fortunate enough to already know what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to go to help make that a reality: the University of Kansas.

Contrary to popular belief—or rather what my favorite teacher, Mr. Clark, thought—I didn’t simply want to go to Kansas for college just because it’s Kirk Hinrich’s alma mater. That just happened to be a wonderful perk. As an aspiring sports writer, KU’s prestigious journalism program was attractive. As a basketball fanatic, I wanted to go to a basketball school, and KU is pretty much the definition of that considering the men’s basketball team’s great history and success.

Kansas seemed like the perfect place for me to be, and I was convinced it was despite never having even gone on a visit there. When I told my friends and classmates my reasoning behind it, they understood and saw why I’d fit there.

So I applied to the school as a journalism major, received my acceptance, and was even offered a scholarship. I’d hear from with representatives from the school who would mention also loving Kirk Hinrich (Thanks to social media it was no secret Kirk was my favorite). I was happy about the prospect of my future and was hopeful that I’d get my perfect college experience. Read more “Illinois happened for a reason”

One Book, One Campus, One Group of People Brought Together By One Person

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Meeting Jamie Tworkowski with the TWLOHA UIUC UChapter

On June 30 at 1:02 p.m., my twin sister, Amanda, received a text from our best friend Carly:

“If you’re free right now, please call me! I have (some) exciting news!”

We text, tweet, and Snapchat one another all the time, but we never call one another, making it a bit of an odd request. So Amanda and I figured it had to be really exciting news for Carly to request a phone call because just reading the news through a text would not live up to its importance.

Two minutes later, we called Carly from Amanda’s phone. And sure enough, Carly had exciting news.

“Jamie’s coming to campus!”

No way.

Carly called to let us know that Jamie Tworkowski, founder of the non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms and New York Times bestselling author, would be coming to our school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this school year. His book If You Feel Too Much was selected for the One Book One Campus event, so he would be coming to U of I to do a lecture and book signing. The expanded edition of If You Feel Too Much would also be out by the time he came, too.

We could not be more thrilled, because we all love Jamie.
Read more “One Book, One Campus, One Group of People Brought Together By One Person”