My UAF experience

Posted by Aaron

I was hesitant to go to college. I didn't want to leave my cushy lifestyle back in Juneau to attend MORE school!! Especially away from all my family and friends! But my parents had a plan for me to go to college, so really, I had no choice.
My mother and I visited UAF and UAA a year before graduating high school looking for the right college for me, with in state tuition of course... I had always thought I would like UAA more and told my mother there was no need to visit UAF, I had already made my choice. What with the cold and the... cold, Fairbanks didn't seem like the place for me. But she insisted we at least look at UAF. We landed in Fairbanks on a February winter day. If I remember right, the temperature was hovering around 9°F. We spent the day driving around Fairbanks getting a feel for it. I remember one thing I thought was cool about Fairbanks was the sun. If you have ever been in Juneau, you would know we don't see much sun or even blue sky for that matter...
The next day we went on an all day tour with one of the student ambassadors on campus, and I couldn't express to you over this blog how much my opinion had changed. The tour guide was so nice and seemed to know so much about the campus, which really helped me get a feel for it and eventually that experience convinced me to join the UAF student ambassadors myself. We walked all over campus to each building and even talked to some of the heads in the Justice department on campus (I'm a Justice major). I became hooked on UAF. 
A year later, I was packing up all my belongings, getting ready to move to UAF. "You'll love it!! I had so much fun in college! Once you get your degree, nobody can ever take that away from you," my mother told me as I was getting ready to say my goodbyes. I was nervous, but I know I would be happy with the campus I had chosen.
I had arrived to UAF about a week before classes started which gave me plenty of time to participate in the new student orientation the campus throws for first year college students. All of us broke into smaller groups and each day we did a number of different activities with our groups. While at the time, I thought it was a drag, i'm now very happy that I went to those activities. In those groups, I met some of my first friends at UAF whom I still talk to this day more than a year later. But I knew this was just the beginning. I had not felt the true college experience as classes had not started yet. DON DON DOOON.
Little did I know how interesting the classes would be. While entering my first class of the year, I thought to my self, "Here we go. Let's enjoy another few years of classes just like high school..." But as soon as the professor entered the room, I knew I was dead wrong. The professors here are not like your ordinary high school teachers. It's obvious that they have the experience to teach at a level that I had not seen before in a teacher. They also had the interest to get their students interested, another difference from previous teachers. But the thing I most noticed is their honest, genuine interest for their students to understand the material in the class. Instead of standing there spouting word after word with no confidence that it's sticking in their student's memory then handing out quizzes, these professors are whiling to look past traditional teaching methods to really teach their students. They almost plead with students to visit their office hours if they have any questions. Some even give their personal cell phone number to students in case they cannot be reached by email. They are whiling to stay after class as long as possible to answer a question to a student.
Finally, one last very important aspect of college I found cool was the students you meet. There are people from literally all over the country and even the world coming here at UAF, with different cultures and backgrounds. I love how everyone here is working towards a common goal of getting their degree and furthering their education. Instead of high school, in which everyone's common goal is to make it through the school day without passing out or skipping class. And I absolutely love the friendships that are started once you meet someone in the same major as you. In high school, I had many friends but none with the same interest in Justice as I do. Once coming to college, my world was rocked. I was not used to meeting young adults that appreciated law enforcement and justice like I did. It was pretty cool.
I think one thing I want people to take out of this blog post is that college is definitely a positive experience. Not to say I haven't had negative experiences in college and living on my own, but unfortunately, that's life. I am EXTREMELY proud of attending college and are equally proud of attending UAF. The experiences I have had here I hope to carry with me throughout my entire life. I hope nobody is hesitating to attend college, especially here at UAF. If I could go back in time, back to the hesitant Aaron, working in Juneau's Papa Murphy's Pizza and never having a thought about college, there would be almost too much to tell. I would tell him of the great times I have had my freshmen year and the fantastic people I will meet. I'll talk about the long nights of studying that I hope I'll never forget. The stressful days in class that made me strive to work hard and bring those good grades back to mom. I'll tell him how UAF professors will influence me in so many ways to become who I am today. But most of all, I will tell him how proud I am to become a Nanook, class of 2016!!!

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