1. You know Watterson Dorms as “Watty.”
All the students at Illinois State refer to Watterson as Watty. It’s just a given. The 28-story building is where plenty of freshmen and sophomores call home. Who knows where the name came from? It’s always just been a thing.
2. If you don’t have classes in Cook Hall, it’s called The Castle.
If you’re not a band student, you will probably never step foot in Cook Hall. You may always wonder what it looks like on the inside, and it will always be referred to as The Castle. I mean what else would you call it?
3. You take Geology solely for Bill Shields.
Let’s be honest, does anybody really have an interest in rocks? Bill Shields is the only person I have ever met that loves rocks so much. He also loves being the professor known around campus for being absolutely hilarious. He understands that most of his students just want to pass his class for the credits and then they’ll never think about it again. However, with Bill as a teacher, we will always remember identifying rocks.
4. Whether you are new best friends, old best friends, or boyfriend and girlfriend, it’s necessary to get pics on the “fell in love at ISU” bench.
The “fell in love at ISU” bench is a staple at Illinois State. Personally, I take pictures with my best friends there, and of course graduation pictures are always taken there in the spring with the beautiful pink bush behind it. Every single girl is waiting for the day that they can take a picture with their true love.
5. The best part about homecoming is tailgating.
The parking lots are always packed with families ready to have cookouts and ready to feed all of their kid’s friends. More than half of the people tailgating don’t go to the game. Of course, lots of people support the football team and want to cheer them on. But then there are the people that just come for the food and cute pictures.
6. No matter how long the line is, Watty chicken tenders are worth the wait.
On chicken tender days, the line for Watterson is literally outside of the building. Everyone still waits in that line because there is nothing more worth their time than Watterson’s chicken.
7. You aren’t phased by the sketchy noises of the elevator anymore.
Every time you bring a friend over to Watty from a different residence hall or from home, you know to expect that they’ll say they’re going to die on the trip up the sketchiest elevators known to man. Residents become used to it quickly, and know to say that if the elevator breaks down, there’s no more class for the day.
8. Subway is breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a 3 a.m. snack.
Subway is the closest place to the dorms, and it’s almost always open. Whenever you’re hungry, it’s there, and you’ll most likely spend all of your flex there within the first two months of the semester.
9. You always take advantage of the free items at Festival ISU.
No matter what year in school, you have to go to Festival ISU. It always takes place around the second or third week of school, and it’s where you win free shirts and receive lots and lots of coupons. We even skip class if there is no other time to go.
10. Your biggest question is about whoever stacks the rocks perfectly by the benches at Stevenson.
Everyone knows the rocks by Stevenson are always stacked, but nobody knows who creates the masterpiece. There has been someone doing it for years, meaning that the tradition has been passed on from student to student.
11. You’re always down for a Dunkin Donuts run.
You know that you go to ISU if you traded your Starbucks obsession with Dunkin’s happy hour. Nothing can beat the $1 large iced coffee. You’ll take a bus, walk, and even beg on the school’s Facebook page for someone to drive you.
12. Spirit Fridays turn into spirit everyday.
Nobody really knows that ISU has spirit days on Friday because ISU students wear their school pride almost every day. Trust me when I say we’re like all other colleges; we do not dress up for classes.
13. Jamba Juice convinces you to workout.
If I go to the rec, I can reward myself with a smoothie. I mean it’s a healthy reward! Then you talk to the regular attendees of the rec and find out why they don’t stop at Jamba every day.
14. CVS becomes more convenient than you ever thought it would.
We all hate how expensive CVS is, but the convenience of it being located right across from Watterson is something that low prices cannot beat. A lot of students don’t have cars early in their college career, so CVS is the one stop for anything and everything.
15. You’ve taken one 8 a.m. class and will never go back to that life.
Being the new freshman I was, I decided I should take an 8 a.m. my first semester of college; that way my classes could be over and done with. You’ll hear it from me and every other student; it’s a huge mistake. You never go to bed early in college, especially with the loud neighbors you’re guaranteed to get. It turns out to be physically painful.
16. You are terrified of the squirrels.
Of all the squirrels that live on the quad, you would think everyone would be used to them. However, they do not move, and we know that we have to get out of their way because they will not get out of ours.
17. You question changing your major to chalk art.
If you’re a sorority girl, you are somehow blessed with artistic chalk skills. The quad is always decked out with color telling us about all the clubs and fundraisers happening.
18. You can’t stand the mall here compared to your hometown.
The first time I went to the Normal Mall, I was ready to leave as soon as I walked in. There is no logical layout. You’ll probably never learn where things are in the mall because of the random hallways that come out of nowhere. Plus, there are no relevant shops, but sometimes you just have to settle for them.
19. You will never know the difference between East, South, and North campus.
I can’t even tell you where Watterson is located, and I live there. The school officials refer to the different campuses to live at, but it really just means Watterson, Hewett-Manchester, and Tri.
20. You know by your freshman year that you’ll never want to leave.
It may take you some time to adjust, but as soon as you start making friends and joining student organizations, you will know that Illinois State is the place you belong. Soon you will be bringing your own kids to visit the little city of Blo-No.