When I was first accepted into the University of Minnesota, I was going through what I can only describe as a major phase of evolutionary progress. Anyone who has ever been accepted into their dream university knows the feeling...one day you are just living your life, eagerly and nervously waiting for that letter of confirmation (or rejection) and then the next thing you know, you are packing up your life and moving near or even on campus to start the journey. When I first stood foot in my dorm, I knew that it was the right place for me. It felt homey but also fresh and it was exactly what I had hoped it would be.
As a full-time university student, I was so excited to dive into the experience. I went to some rush parties, I bought my textbooks, I mapped out my courses so that I was prepared, and I researched the best Google Calendar tips so that I could stay ahead of the game the entire semester - even (and especially) when it felt like I was starting to lose my grip. However, even with all my preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the reality of the experience. Even so, it would have been easy to fall off the wagon, however I got support from where I needed it most - the university itself.
This place gave me support
Being a fresh university student can be a jarring experience, even as rewarding as it is. I knew that I was going to be in for quite the experience and I was not entirely sure how to navigate that fact. However, I was made aware from the moment that I walked into my first class that while this was going to be a challenging experience, it would not only be rewarding, but we would all be given ready access to support systems both on campus and off campus. I cannot emphasise enough how important having that support from the very start ended up being.
This place gave me balance
Along with all that support came an almost inevitable (yet obviously massively appreciated) balance. Knowing that I had the support systems I needed right there whenever I needed them gave the mindset to be able to more consistently balance my approach to university work and my life outside of university. I have so many friends of mind that are still struggling with this reality to this day. I am thankful beyond belief that I do not have that same struggle. The University of Minnesota does it all - and then some.
This place will be hard to leave
When all is said and done and I am getting ready to graduate, I know that this place, this environment that has come to feel like a second home to me, is going to be challenging to leave. I will always speak highly of this place and I know that when I step into my career field for the first time, that I am going to send up a special mental note of thanks. I will always think of this place like a second home.