Most college students dread the mere thought of rolling out of bed in time to make an 8 a.m. class.
But then, Greg Jasinski wasn’t most students.
“I am a morning person, so I would always fill up my schedule with classes early in the day,” says the University of Chicago assistant dean and first-generation college grad.
“I am certain that the trek up the stairs of Foellinger to take a seat in an 8 a.m. class was grueling to many, but to me it was exciting. Of course, we would all sit quietly in class and pay attention to the content, but as soon as the professor announced for everyone to take out their i-Clickers, this mass chatter of intellectual crowd noise would suddenly erupt, growing in volume as answers to the poll question would tick up on screen.
“I recall many nights heading down the stairs to the UGL or climbing the stairs to Second Story Pizza. Finding a seat at Legends on Logo Night wasn’t always easy, and neither was waiting in lines out the door for chicken strips at Geovanti’s.
“Before an exam, I would always walk through the Quad over to Lincoln Hall and rub the nose of Abraham Lincoln for good luck. Back then, I didn’t really stop and think to myself how many people had done the same before me, but it was a tradition I took to heart.
“The University of Illinois is an incredible community. How does one interact and thrive in such a large, complex ecosystem of people and places, I often asked myself. In retrospect, it comes down to a deeper understanding of your character, taking risks with tremendous courage and finding room to grow as a person.
“Whether it is meeting new students in class or making new friends on Quad Day, the paths we took, milestones we shared and memories we made will last for a lifetime. All of your efforts will culminate on the day when you put on your cap and gown to walk over for a graduation picture with your family and friends in front of the Alma Mater.
“And that picture-perfect moment is the greatest memory of all.”