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Students Talk about UIC

A little bit intimidated, but not afraid

Brandon BellSmall-town kid discovers life in the big city, including pizza

Brandon Bell: "My parents are really proud of me and I'm proud of myself, and I'm going to work really hard so I don't let them down." Read more...

Malikha DanielsA little bit intimidated, but not afraid

Malikha Daniels is excited about making the cheerleading squad. "I have to make sure I prioritize." Read more...

Parthiv PatelBusiness or pharmacy? Perhaps it's too soon to pick a major

Parthiv Patel had a major selected before he came to campus, but now he wonders. "I want to be sure I choose the right thing." Read more...

Camille SanchezA commuter student in search of the campus experience

Camille Sanchez: As a new commuter student, "I'm trying to find something to do" between classes. Read more...

Malikha DanielsMalikha Daniels is excited about making the cheerleading squad. "I have to make sure I prioritize."

From her room at home in Country Club Hills, Malikha Daniels could just make out the silhouette of the Sears Tower if she looked far into the distance.

But from Daniels’ new room in the Stukel Towers residence hall, the Chicago icon is larger than life.

“It’s nice because I can look out my window and see it if I want to,” she said. “It’s right there.”

When Daniels decided on UIC, she knew she wanted to live on campus. She was excited when she was assigned to Stukel Towers, which opened just last fall.

“Everything’s really new, so I won’t be afraid to walk around barefoot,” she said with a laugh.

So far, her only complaint about her new living arrangements has been a broken thermostat, which shut off air conditioning to her room for three days. And she didn’t bring a fan to school.

“My roommate and I were in the room sweating really hard,” she said.

Problem solved, she’s happy to live on a floor designated for students in the Women in Science and Engineering Program.

The WISE wing is women only, which Daniels said she has mixed feelings about.

“It has its benefits and downfalls,” said Daniels, a biological sciences major. “It’s an all-girls floor, so there can be a little bit of drama. But most of the people I’ve run into have been pretty nice and focused. They want to have fun, but they’re not going to put that over their studying.”

Daniels enjoys having a small study group right at her doorstep, especially after feeling intimidated by the hundreds of students in her new courses. She and the other women who live in the WISE wing have already spent time working on pre-calculus homework together.

“It’s kind of an adjustment — there are so many people in the classes,” she said. “But most of the people who live on my floor want to learn and want to be studious.”

Daniels’ schedule is about to get a lot busier. She made the UIC cheerleading squad and practice is just starting. She decided to try out for the team after watching YouTube videos of last year’s squad in action. And she really liked the uniforms.

“I was surprised I made it because all of the girls are really good,” she said. “They work hard and their skills are really high.”

She’s waiting to find out what sports she’ll cheer for, but she’s already hopeful about her assignment.

“I want to cheer for the boys’ basketball games, but if it doesn’t work out, I won’t mind,” she said. “I’m just really happy I’m on the squad.”

Her commitment to the team includes practice three hours a day, two or three times a week, but she’s not worried.

“I don’t think it will be as hard as everyone says it will be for me because in high school, I was involved in a lot of activities,” she said.

“I just have to learn when I have to study and not hang out. I have to make sure I prioritize.”

UPDATE (11/26/08): "Making New Friends a Necessity for Fun, and Help with Chemistry" (UICNews)

Meet the other freshmen:

Small-town kid discovers life in the big city

Business or pharmacy? Perhaps it's too soon to pick a major

A commuter student in search of the campus experience

*Interview courtesy of UICNews; Author Christy Levy; Photo Roberta Dupuis-Devlin.