The university experience is different for everyone. For me, I am quite fortunate that my university experience has been pleasant and rewarding, for the most part. Of course, this is not to say that the experience has not come without its challenges. Personally, I am of the firm belief that any process that the challenges are an important aspect of what makes any experience even more rewarding and worthwhile. Now, that is not to say that challenges are not frustrating, however is that not the whole point of university? To challenge yourself?
When I finally decided that I was going to attend the University of Minnesota, I was confident in my choice because I had done my research to figure out exactly what the university could and likely would offer me. I knew from the first week of classes that I had made the right decision. So often, soon-to-be university students make the mistake of simply choosing their preferences based on the reputation of the schools. Yes, this is important, however there are a lot of other moving pieces that play just as important a role.
The importance of going to a university that values you
There are a lot of reasons that I am thankful for my decision to attend the University of Minnesota, however perhaps the most important reason of all is the level that the university went to, to make sure that all its students, obviously including myself, were given the materials, opportunities, and tools to excel academically. One example is this: like many other university students, I work to support myself. Suddenly, my car (i.e. my mode of transport to and from my shifts) completely died on me.
The University of Minnesota and its empowering values
While I was suddenly having to refer to a car finance calculator for loan payments at different interest rates, amid one of the busiest assessment weeks of my entire degree, I went to the campus psychologist to get some much-needed mental health focus in. University is busy. It can be easy to feel like you are drowning in it all. And it is also easy for campuses to play dumb. The University of Minnesota, on the other hand, did the exact opposite and stepped in to go above and beyond the expectations of student care. I felt supported and I then felt motivated to study and hold my head up high (“this too shall pass”, and all that).
The university that prepares you for the future ahead of time
Yes, this is generally the entire point of university. However, you might be surprised just how often universities do not adhere to this value. Above all else, this is a campus and a university that prepares you for the future ahead of time by not only giving you the standard class and practical knowledge and experience, but that essentially and successfully gives you access to networking events and seminars (both through the university itself and in the surrounding area of campus through independent means). These tools have more than prepared me for my career - and I have not even stepped foot into my career field yet (first comes graduation).