As you grow up, it’s natural to imagine college as this massively daunting period of life. Not only will you be surrounded by hugely successful and competitive peers but you’ll most definitely experience insecurity, feeling neglected, un-buoyed.
College is a make-or-break time. You get lost, or find yourself.
After graduating from high school, the pressure was on. Which would I be?
In my years at Union College, I’ve participated in almost all the ways you can imagine. I played on the women’s basketball team for three years, served as an officer in two clubs, wrote for the school paper for four years. I nannied for a local family, worked three different on-campus jobs, sold doughnuts in a doughnut shop and completed two professional internships during my free summers. I studied abroad for a year in Italy, changing the total number of countries I’ve visited from one to thirteen.
Union is small.
Known for its familial atmosphere, we have less than 900 students. For a college campus, that’s tiny.
In fact, that’s one of the drawbacks to potential students. There are teenagers who think they need that college experience, that small-fish-big-pond feeling.
Some believe they’ll miss out on key growth opportunities in such a tiny environment in the middle of Lincoln, Nebraska. But I can say confidently that I love Union College because of the opportunities it offers, opportunities that would be almost unattainable at other schools.
Each year at Union has given me some new opportunity for intense growth. I remember back to my first collegiate job during freshman year, both terrified and exhilarated at the freedom my boss gave me to develop new processes for the campus-wide financial statements.
I remember being captain for the basketball team during my junior year, and the pressure of being on a team with people who didn’t really share my love of the sport. I remember traveling through Europe during my year abroad, learning a new language and a new culture.
My senior year has been filled with new opportunities, each opening the doors to three more.
During the spring semester of 2016, my academic advisor recommended me for an internship in Orlando, Fla. Because of the incredible experience I had and the people I met, I applied for a residency after graduation.
Due to the opportunity Union gave me, I now have an amazing residency position waiting for me after graduation, something many college graduates don’t have the luxury of saying.
Don’t get me wrong; I count myself incredibly lucky.
Maybe my story isn’t the norm. But that’s the thing: it can be. Union College gives everyone the opportunity to get involved; converse with your advisor or division chair about your talents and dreams, or be on a team or in a club. Sure, on a small campus, you might feel like you never left boarding school/high school drama. But the perks and opportunities here are endless and life changing.
Katie Morrison is a senior studying business administration.