On Fire

When Billy lost everything, the UIC community stepped up.

Billy chose UIC in large part because of its friendly, welcoming community. But it wasn’t until an apartment fire destroyed nearly all of his possessions that he realized just how supportive that community could be.

“I emailed my professors to let them know I’d be missing for a week or two because I didn’t have a computer or Wi-Fi,” said Billy, a kinesiology major who plans to pursue a career in orthopedics. “I was hoping they would give me extensions on my work, but a lot of them went above and beyond.”

One professor arranged for the loan of a wireless hotspot so he could keep up with his school work. Billy’s friends on the gymnastics team gave him a place to stay. And the entire UIC community rallied around with donations of food, clothing and whatever else he needed.

“I knew we were a tight-knit community, but I had no idea just how far people would go to help me out,” Billy said. “It was really touching that everyone was there to support me—not only as a student but also as a person.”

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Major: Kinesiology

Campus activities: Gymnastics

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This is me. Uniquely UIC.

Give a tip to incoming freshman

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Nine times out of ten, if you ask someone, they will be more than happy to either help you or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Tell us about an interesting class or professor

I loved my Kinesiology 100 class. I learned about so much more than just the mechanics of body movements. I remember a guest speaker who went to college to become a doctor, but it turns out his life dream was to be a realtor. If there was one thing that class taught me, it was there is no roadmap to life.

What's your favorite thing about UIC?

This year, I experienced just how committed the faculty at UIC are in supporting you. Both as a student and as a person. Midway through the semester, my apartment caught fire, and as a result, I lost everything except the clothes on my back, my phone, wallet, and computer. I was astonished to see the level of support from my professors as well as my advisors. One teacher even went out of her way to set me up with a mobile hotspot so I could keep up with my classes. I felt taken care of by the UIC community.

You make us uniquely UIC.

Everyone has a story that makes them a unique part of UIC.