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All-nighters and a daily commute

Meet the freshmen: halfway

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Camille Sanchez
Camille Sanchez rides the Metra home to Bolingbrook: in the morning, she commutes in with her mom and does her homework on the train. “It’s just easier” than doing it at home, she says.

Photo: Kathryn Marchetti

This fall, UIC welcomed nearly 3,000 new students to its freshman class. UIC News will follow four of them — Brandon Bell, Malikha Daniels, Parthiv Patel and Camille Sanchez — through the challenges and opportunities they encounter in beginning their college careers.

In September, we spoke with them as they settled in. Here's the second round of interviews, soon after midterms.

Camille Sanchez is getting used to staying up late.

In her first three months as a UIC freshman, she’s already pulled five all-nighters, sacrificing sleep to write papers for class.

“I can’t write papers at a normal time, when most people do,” she said. “Most of mine are written at 4 a.m. And I study at 5 a.m.”

Sitting through class on little or no sleep isn’t much of a problem, Sanchez said. It takes a few days for the sleep deprivation to kick in.

“I pulled an all-nighter Tuesday and I was OK Wednesday, but by Thursday I was really tired,” Sanchez said. “I still have the adrenaline rushing the day after.”

She catches up on her sleep during her daily train commute from her family’s home in Bolingbrook.

During her first week of school, Sanchez had trouble figuring out what time to leave home to get to class in time, but now she’s got it worked out.

“I pretty much have a set schedule now instead of trying out new things all of the time,” Sanchez said.

She rides the train in the morning with her mom, who works downtown. They sit together for the 30-minute ride if they can find open seats, but Sanchez usually spends the time finishing up homework.

“It’s just easier to do homework before class instead of at home,” she said.

Sanchez said she doesn’t have time to join student organizations because of her commuting schedule. Most groups meet in the late afternoon or at night, she said, but Sanchez leaves campus after her classes to get home in time to pick her sister up from middle school.

Though she doesn’t have much free time to spend at UIC, Sanchez said she’s happy with her decision to commute to campus — at least for her freshman year.

“It’s good to get my focus together,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who live at school who are too into the social part and forget about school.”

But living at home has its distractions, too.

“The TV is still there, my computer is still there, and a social life is still going on at home,” Sanchez said. “But I don’t think it’s as distracting as it would be living here.”

Sanchez gets to campus an hour or two before classes and hangs out at Student Center East or one of the Lecture Center oases.

“I just try to do my homework or take a nap or something,” she said.

Sanchez is majoring in information and decision sciences in the College of Business Administration. She’s discovered that her classes aren’t as difficult as she originally thought.

“It’s a lot easier than I expected,” she said. “In high school, a lot of teachers said you’d be studying for hours at a time, but I rarely do.”

She has found out that exams in college cover more topics than high school tests.

“The biggest challenge has been having to know so much for the midterms instead of having regular tests every other week,” she said. “And my teachers make tests harder than the homework is.”

Sanchez said she’s excited to be in college.

“It’s starting to sink in,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed meeting new people everywhere and experiencing new things.”


Keep up with the other freshmen:

'I've always liked pressure and stress'

Making new friends a necessity for fun, and help with chemistry

Keeping afloat with heavy course load

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