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Q&A: University of Illinois at Chicago

Patricia Noriega is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in psychology. As a child she wanted to be a teacher and later considered going into medicine – a major that draws students to UIC – but changed her mind after a semester of chemistry.

When you were younger were you one of those kids who grew up knowing where you wanted to go to college? If so, where did you want to go?
I knew I wanted to go (to college), I just had no idea where.

What other schools did you apply to?
DePaul, Loyola and St. Xavier.

Was there anyone helping you pick a school or directing you a certain way or did you ultimately make the decision by yourself?
I had family and friends give me insight.

What was it about UIC that made you want to go there?
My cousin was already going here so I felt like it would be easier knowing someone who went here. Plus it was more in my price range and not far from home.

Do you live on or near UIC’s campus, or do you live at home?
I live (on campus).

Why did you choose to live on-campus instead of at home?
It was way easier and I think it’s a great experience. And I think if I lived at home I would be missing a lot of school due to weather, car problems and money for parking and/or gas.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about UIC?
I love that it’s so close to the city and that it’s a very diverse school.

What is the worst?
That the older dorms are dirty (courtyard). They always seem to have problems with the water. The books are ridiculously overpriced and even when it snows two feet we still have to be in class.

What are you hoping to pursue in the field of psychology?
I want to become an educational/school psychologist and work with children.

Overall, how are your experiences with professors and staff?
I’ve had some good ones and ones that I think should not be allowed to teach students about anything.

What are your classes like in terms of size?
Right now all my classes are about 100 plus students except my Psych 381 class (interviewing).

How do you feel UIC differs from U of I besides the fact of the location?
It’s more diverse. The classrooms I believe are a little bit larger here. The atmosphere is a more welcoming one and there are more things to be/get involved in here.

What major(s) would you say draws people to UIC?
Definitely pre-med, psych and criminal justice – I want to say engineering too.

Do you have a lot of friends or acquaintances from your high school that go to UIC?
I’ve seen only about a handful.

How does that affect you?
It doesn’t because I only see them on campus and I was never really close to them in high school.

What do you feel are the perks of going to school in downtown Chicago?
It’s so close to many things like the museums, ballparks, movie theaters and it gives people the opportunity to experience new things.

Are there any negatives?
Traffic sucks, parking is more expensive, it’s loud and there are so many crime alerts.

What do you think your particular job market is going to look like when you graduate?
Hopefully I can find something and quick because it’s not really looking good for any job market right now.

What is your favorite place to go around the UIC campus?
The library is a great place to hang out but all of UIC has its own comfy feel to it.

It’s rough trying to a pick a college, what’s your advice for high school juniors/seniors?
Make sure you go and visit colleges of interest because you may find that the prettiest, cheapest, closest colleges may not always be the best decision for steering you in the right direction in life.

Is there anything else you’d like to add at this time?
Never give up on your dreams of becoming what you want in life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 For more info: Speak to an academic advisor or visit the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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