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Life > Experiences

Look How Far I’ve Come

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Maine chapter.

Two years ago— \back in 2020—I was on my way to Maine from New Jersey to visit the University of Maine. I was considering transferring here for the spring 2021 semester. My mom, grandma, and I made a whole weekend of it to see the campus to its fullest extent. Unbeknownst to us, the state of New Jersey had just gotten put on the quarantine list, so on that very same afternoon when we had arrived, we found out we needed to leave as soon as possible. We drove around campus, got dinner in Brewer, submitted my deposit for the spring 2021 semester in bed, and went to sleep at the Courtyard Marriott in Bangor. We left the next morning before the sun began to rise.

By the time this gets published, my classes for the fall 2022 semester will be completed, and am in the last few weeks of my final semester. I can say in confidence that I made the right decision in coming to the University of Maine. In these two and a half years, I’ve met great people, learned from so many great professors, and become a part of some great organizations. When I initially moved up here, it was in the middle of the pandemic. There was nothing going on, no true on-campus activities, classes were online, and I had to wear a mask to walk right across the hall to the bathroom. 

Could I have just stayed home in New Jersey and completed my first semester from the comfort of my own house? Yes, I could have easily done that, but I didn’t want to. I did the second half of my spring 2020 semester and all of the fall 2020 semester. With my brother going onto Brookdale Community College after finishing high school, and my Mom who’s an in-class aide to a behavioral student, there was too much chaos for me and I did not want to deal with it. 

So, on January 21, 2021, I moved into Kennebec Hall and started a new chapter of my life.

The adjustment period was rough and I’ll openly admit it to anyone. During my first two weeks of online classes, I barely uttered a word on Zoom and was having my professors check in on me to make sure I was still there. I slowly started speaking up more and my classmates started to take notice of it, I gained this confidence in my engagement with the content, I was learning and was now having wonderful and insightful conversations. I began to make new friends and I got to learn about their backgrounds and upbringing. I still keep in touch with some of those friends from my online classes.

The feelings of excitement and paranoia filled my head as I was moving my life around into a new room. I remember being petrified when my mom and grandma drove back to the hotel and left the next morning; I was finally on my own in a new state and at a new school that I had never explored before in my life.  

I had that independence and freedom I’d been longing for since I was a kid, but I was hysterically crying and wondering if I’d be able to make it. I can say it now almost two years later, “Look how far I’ve come.” I’m a senior now, ready to graduate in a few weeks I’ve met some incredible people and hopefully, I’ll finda job post-graduation. For now, I’m enjoying all the sporting events and hanging out with my friends, and I’ve been slowly exploring what Maine has to offer.

I had the privilege to sit with the maine-iaks at all of the home hockey games this past season, I’ve made it on the jumbotron and made it on the TV stream back home. I got to meet a bunch of the players at the end of the semester for their annuals Skate with the Bears event as well. What was most rewarding to me was experiencing a playoff game at the Alfond. It was something I’ll never forget, especially hearing the roars of the crowd as a huge college hockey fan.  

In the middle of the excitement that was UMaine hockey this past season, I joined one of the intramural floor hockey teams on campus back in October and we won the championship last semester. Because of that I gained 11 new friends and made some great memories at the Rec Center playing floor hockey at 9:30 at night on Tuesdays or Thursdays (schedule pending). 

If anyone reading this happens to be in the same boat as me, think about the journey you took to get to this point, to get to be a student here at the Univerisity of Maine. You’ve gotten so far in your journey in higher education. Think of all the friends you’ve made, the events you’ve gotten to be a part of, all the classes you’ve taken, and the professors you learned from. Still live in the future and get excited for what is ahead for you in your life, but also live in the moment and look back on who you met and what you did to get you to this point.

I'm a graduating senior studying journalism & media studies. I love to write op-eds and personal essays. I'm an aspiring sports writer wanting to focus on women in sports and issues within.