The UIC Quad, the ARC Starbucks, the walk from 1200 W. Harrison to BSB, an overnight stay at The Automatic Lofts, the so-called west campus, midnight conversations about dreams, my favorite view from the tenth floor of the ARC, those tiny stairs in Burnham Hall, Room 4-192 in the Library, trying to find some space in the CS lounge, Pandas python framework, Bus 60 and Bus 156, Union Station, deep conversations about life, changing majors, choosing a minor, running for Linux User Group Treasurer, winning the elections, longest queue at Panda Express, morning coffee for students at the Commuter Center, snow fights, one of the best views from BSB, the UIC famous Gareeb Nawaz, online classes, crazy lockdown browser exams, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, those repetitive emails to complete the professors’ evaluations, CS 141, Dr. Reed Dale, TA Tyler, Prof Khan, and finally some great people in my life. Did this much really happen in my life? I know one year can do a lot for people but this one year turned me from a child into a man.
When I walked into UIC for the first time as a student I had a proud feeling that this is my campus for four years and this is my second home. I felt like I would find the purpose of my life. A million thoughts were running through my mind and my heart was racing faster than ever. I wasn’t even this nervous when I was talking in front of five thousand people, but I was nervous on that first day.
I really had no idea what to expect or how to begin the new journey that lay ahead of me. I remember my teacher Mr. Girup said, “you are a mini-celebrity in this school, everyone knows Krish Bavana but when you begin your new life at college, remember that you have to work hard to be this guy again.” I think those are the most powerful words I have ever heard from a teacher.
Even though my first class started at 11 AM, I was there on campus at 8:30 AM, walking, trying to memorize the building names, and trying to see other Naperville North students, but it was a weird day. I finally met my friend Bhavana, the girl who I knew from orientation. I am sorry Bhavana if my words didn’t make any sense that day because I was in the place of my dreams. I was walking with a little pride and a lot of confusion.
The real story began after all the classes. There was so much homework on the first day itself and I still remember hating the Econ professor for assigning thirty-three pages to read. I met some great people in the first week and they are the people that changed my life: Dinesh, Vamsi, Shreya, Teju, Madhav. I cried with them, I learned with them, I asked them so many calculus questions, explained some python and C++, told them my dream, walked, fought, smiled, and made memories with them.
Some incredible things happened in a year. UIC Radio and Ignite Leadership made the first part of the year awesome. Meeting Briana, Tara, Joshua, Spencer, Rio, Brian, and Adam were some of the best additions to my first semester. It got crazier and crazier and more interesting once I met Agnis, Joey, Cody, Ben, Humberto, GiGi, Komali, the tall marble guy, the short guy near the CS lounge, a super sweet lady at Panda Express, and many people. I started to learn that this was my journey and this was the path I wanted to go in. I ran for Linux User Group elections and won. I will be the Treasurer, taking in more responsibilities, and I will be exploring myself more and more. Both these semesters made me confident- they told me I can do anything.
My favorite part about this entire school year is my first love. It was a snowy Tuesday at around 2 PM. Me and my friends were walking to Lecture Center B and it was snowing heavily. And then I saw her. The most beautiful code I have ever seen. That was the moment I knew I was in love. Though I knew it that day, it took me an entire semester to change my major to CS, and every day since then, I’ve loved it more and more and more. I have never loved anything this much apart from my parents in my life. Code became a part of my family. I think the best decision that I ever made after coming to UIC was Coding. I will always be happy with this decision.
There is a lot more to this though: commuting, CS 151, and more but those stories are not meant to be cherished. I have learned the most valuable things in this one year but the best thing was commuting, which I admit, I will not cherish. “Cherish” is a very small word to describe how I feel about that beautiful hour spent commuting. I got time to listen to stories, read some interesting articles, watch Netflix and Amazon Prime, and hear some of the best and craziest conversations. I really don’t want to end this blog, I want to tell more and more stories but some of those stories are really close to my heart so I will just leave them there.