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Lauren Southwood

Class of 2019
From Astoria, IL

Lauren Southwood, a junior studying human development and family studies, chose her major because of the numerous opportunities offered.

“I chose HDFS because of the many opportunities available, the limitless paths one may take with this major, and the unique family perspective HDFS majors are taught at compared to their counterparts,” Lauren says. “One of my favorite things about HDFS is the smaller department size allowing for many one-on-one interactions and limitless hands-on opportunities.”

Lauren says that it is her U of I experience that has truly given her the courage to accomplish anything post-graduation.

“My U of I experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone and across international borders on more than one occasion. My classes have challenged me academically, personally, and professionally. My many extracurricular activities have taught me about the importance of a work-life balance, how to lead both motivated and unmotivated individuals, and how to be a superior team member. Thanks to my many wonderful professors, various influential faculty and staff, and UIUC’s endless opportunities I am fully confident I can handle anything my future career may throw at me.”

Lauren says it is her experiences abroad that have shown her how special being a student at the University of Illinois really is.

“Whatever success you find in life I’m sure an Illini will be right by your side,” she says. “I can remember walking through the metro in Hong Kong with other Illinois students when a random stranger walking past us shouts ‘I-L-L’ and we instinctively shouted back ‘I-N-I’. The University of Illinois isn’t just an institution of higher education; it’s a family, it’s a tradition, and it becomes a part of who you are.”

For future students getting ready to leave for college, Lauren encourages them to chase their dreams and get ready for a new, exciting experience.

“Remember that this is your decision and no one else’s. You go where you want to go, where you feel at home, and where you feel right. Study whatever you want, follow your passion, and get involved on campus,” she says. “You’re going to be stressed a lot of the time, so remember stress is temporary, but success is forever. These four years will fly by faster than high school, so buckle up and get ready for one heck of a ride.”