The University of North Florida has shown me
what I want to be when I grow up, and given me all the tools I need to get
I came in to college as a wanderer with a lot
of passion and nowhere to apply it. The first transformational experience that
UNF afforded me was through the club Students without Borders. I traveled to
Honduras for Spring Break in 2009. This was my first trip to a developing
country and it taught me two things: that I loved international relations and
that, even more so, I loved talking to people. Upon my return, I immediately
declared an International Studies major, Social Welfare minor, and started
taking Spanish classes. Through this club, I also started volunteering at the Sulzbacher
Center, a homeless shelter in downtown Jacksonville. By the winter of my
sophomore year, I knew I wanted to be in communities all around the world,
helping in any way I could – and I learned all of this through a student club.
The academics offered at UNF intensified my
newly discovered passion. Through my minor, I ventured out into the community
both for class projects and internships. I have worked with PACE Center for
Girls, an organization that helps at-risk girls, making a testimonial video on
how PACE changes the lives of its clients. I have helped launch the Women and
Girls Initiative for Dignity U Wear, an organization that helps families and
children in need by providing them with brand new clothing, by conducting
research and writing grants. The Sociology faculty at UNF has guided me through
this entire process, including a directed independent study focusing on women
in the social welfare system.
The International Studies major was no
different. Through this major, I traveled to Costa Rica in the summer of 2010.
I used my newfound Spanish skills and submerged
into a new culture. The classes I have taken prepared me for this and many more
Through both my major and minor, I’ve learned
that professors in a classroom can only teach you so much. UNF pushed me out
into the world through internships, class projects and travel opportunities. It
is through these types of experiences that I have truly learned.
The University has offered me so much outside
the classroom. I have lived on campus all four years and was a resident assistant
for more than a year. I believe in the power of community that the residence
halls have to offer. I would not trade those experiences for anything because
they truly helped round out my education.
Currently, I am the market day coordinator at
the Student Union, and manage all things dealing with the weekly market. This
job has taught me so much about leadership and creativity in the workplace.
Every staff member of the Student Union has made an impact on my collegiate
career equal to that of my classmates and professors.
Through UNF’s academics, clubs, housing and
residence life and on-campus job opportunities, faculty and staff have created a home for me. It really is the
people who make UNF unique. I truly believe that on my first day here, there
was no one like me. And now, after UNF has made me a much different person, I
know there is no place like this.