The University of Georgia is home to students who have come from far and wide to be a part of the bulldawg family. In the 2016 fall semester alone, UGA welcomed more than five thousand new students to its community, growing fall 2015’s enrollment by about one percent. However, these students are more than additional numbers to add to the population total. These students are individuals who bring something unique to Athens, who are helping the community grow in new ways, and who are bringing new light to the community . We had the chance to catch up with one of those “out of staters” to learn more about her story. Here is what she had to say:
Where are you from?
I am originally from California. I was born in San Francisco and lived all around the Bay Area including Saulsalito, Pleasanton, Tracy, and Livermore. I grew up mainly in Livermore, which is a city about 45 minutes outside of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. I loved the weather and culture out there but was ready to explore when I graduated high school!
Why did you decide to attend UGA?
Growing up, my parents instilled in me a huge drive for and excitement towards travel. I was independent from a young age and knew I always wanted to go out of state for college, but did not know exactly where. I eventually decided to attend UGA because I fell in love with the sweet Southern culture, adorable downtown, excitement over UGA sports, and the level of academics provided.
How would you describe your experience as an out of state student?
Truthfully, the first semester as an out of state student is hard!! As awesome as Freshman dorms are, it is hard to make friends when you do not know anyone. As I pushed myself to join clubs and meet more people however, I began to love this place and UGA became my home. I came into UGA not knowing one person and now have a huge network of friends and peers and am so glad I made that jump.
What have you experienced that you were not really expecting (culture etc.) ?
I did not know how hype a UGA football game would be until I truly experienced the student section for myself. What an amazing true college experience! The other aspect that was a pretty big shock to me was how different people are. We are only on opposite sides of the country but people are very different here- Southerners are so sweet!!
What has been your favorite part of your experience?
My favorite part of my experience thus far has been putting myself out of my comfort zone. Although I grew up an independent person, I have gained such a special value and outlook on independence and traveling alone. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many different people from such diverse backgrounds.
What’s the biggest difference between Athens and where you are from?
Both Athens and Livermore are pretty small towns but in Livermore people somewhat kept to themselves. The Athens community and UGA community really characterize the city of Athens and make the entire geographic area come together as one unity.
Do you think there is anything UGA does really well and/or could do better for students who are out of state?
I think something at the beginning like a mixer for out of state students would be really helpful! We take surveys about all of our classes and professors but a yearly survey about how our UGA experience has been would provide immense benefit. It is hard coming into a school where so many people have their high school friends – a mixer for out of state students would rock!
What has been the biggest challenge of your experience at UGA so far?
A common one would be home sickness or maybe Organic Chemistry, however what I personally have struggled with the most is trying to stay true to myself. There are so many awesome personalities in college and influences that seem like a good idea. College is really about figuring out who you are and the most important part in that is not getting lost in a sea of many. As I grew from an underclassman to an upperclassman, I was able to better figure out how to say yes to what I wanted to do and be a part of and simply say no to the rest. That has definitely been a huge growing process with a hard learning curve.
If you had any words of advice for future dawgs what would it be?
Put yourself outside of your comfort zone as quickly as possible and as cool as you think someone else is, stay true to yourself!! You are the only person is this world that is best as being you and your authenticity and true awesomeness about you will fade away if you try to be someone else.