50 Students for 50 States: Illinois
What is your name?
Which state are you from?
Have you lived there your whole life?
Describe your state in three words.
Flat, cloudy, and cold.
Describe the people in your state in three words.
Athletic, red-neck, and diverse.
Are you proud of being from your home state? Why or why not?
Yes, because I’m proud of our sports teams – but that’s it.
How did growing up in your state affect your childhood?
As kids, I was really creative with my activities and what I did for fun. I spent most of my time doing indoor sports because there wasn’t much else to do. Also, I’m really used to the city.
I’d rather just go skiing than go to the gym.
What kind of local traditions did your town have?
There’s a Kris Kringle market in downtown. On St. Patrick’s Day, we dye the river green. St. Patrick’s day is a pretty big deal. We also have fall festivals with haunted corn mazes.
What was the culture like in your home state / town?
Everyone keeps to themselves. You don’t really see people outside a lot. Everyone cares about their cars and they have car meet-ups. There’s also lots of sports like pickup basketball.
What kind of relationship did you have with your neighbors?
I had relationships with them off and on but a lot of them moved away. I have never seen our neighbor on the right leave his house. I only know like three other people in our neighborhood.
What was your favorite thing to do in your home state / town?
Go to the park and play basketball and spikeball.
Are there any foods that your state is famous for?
Italian beef and deep dish pizza.
We dye the river green.
Is there any slang from your home state that you use frequently?
Pop instead of soda. I say “ya no” and “no ya” which sounds confusing but most people understand.
Do you have any local celebrities?
Abraham Lincoln, but he’s from Springfield which isn’t where I’m from. Chance the Rapper grew up in Chicago. Kanye, Michelle Obama, Harrison Ford, Clinton, Michael Jordan.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your home state?
My favorite part is my friends. My least favorite part is that it’s not the most scenic area.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of Colorado?
My favorite part is all the outdoorsy things. My least favorite part is the huge homeless population. It’s really sad.
Oh, you’re from the hood.
What drew you to CCU / Colorado?
The mountains. Even though I didn’t do much hiking or skiing before, that was the big reason I really wanted to come here.
How has living in Colorado changed your lifestyle?
I hate going to the gym now because I’d rather be doing active things outside. I’d rather just go skiing and get a workout that way. I drink a lot more water now too. And I’m a less picky eater for some reason.
If someone were to visit your home state, what would you recommend they do?
I’d say go to downtown Chicago and China Town. Also, Millennium Park. Starved Rock is our one pretty place in Illinois.
After graduation, do you plan on staying in Colorado, returning to your home state, or going somewhere else?
Probably stay here or do travel nursing.
What are the most common stereotypes about your state and are they true?
That I live in the hood. It’s not true but to some people it would be true. I think I live in a pretty decent area. Another stereotype is that I never see wildlife – that one’s true. That we only listen to trap music, that’s untrue.
What is the most common reaction you get when you tell people where you’re from?
They say, “Oh, you’re from the hood.”