Why did you choose UConn?
Well, I had the blessed fortune of becoming the valedictorian of my high school, which meant I was guaranteed a free ride to UConn, and so, considering I came from a low-income family, it was the obvious choice. I don’t think I could have gone to college otherwise. That being said, there’s no point in college if I can’t pursue what I love. Thankfully, UConn possesses a vast library of majors, granting me the freedom to explore my options and fulfill my dreams. After snuffing out that final shred of doubt, choosing UConn became a no-brainer.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
I will never regret taking illustration/animation as my major. Subject matter aside, it forced me to face unforgiving trials that I couldn’t have begun to conceive had I chosen something else. This major, this college, taught me tenacity. I know now what it truly means to push yourself, to strain your limits for the sake of a job well done, and to simply never ever give up. I’ve also learned how to take criticism in all its forms, and utilize it in a constructive, creative way that makes everyone, especially my client, happy. Though, perhaps most importantly, the semester made me understand that I won’t always be perfect … and that’s okay. Mistakes happen, there will always be delays, setbacks, technical issues, we need to sleep, and we need to eat. Sometimes, I’m not going to make it as far as I wanted. But that does not make me a failure. I still have a long way to go, but I think all of these lessons compiled together have prepared me to face the harsh reality of the working world, paving the way for what I can only hope to be a content and balanced life.
What’s something you learned in a class that you’ll always remember?
Something I picked up back in my second semester that has yet to fade from my memory banks (and I don’t think it ever will) is a biology fact about squids. See, squids don’t have spines, they have a bendable structure called a “pen”, which is made of chitin and resembles a long, smooth feather. Back in the day when squid wound up in their catch, sailors and pirates would sometimes remove the pen and use the ink of the squid to write down documents and letters overseas. Why do I remember this? Well, that day we were dissecting squids, and as soon as the professor (who is, by the way, one of the most fantabulous on this planet) told me this fact I took the pen, dipped it in the ink sac, and started drawing a picture of the squid on a brown paper towel. It made the professor so happy that she framed it, put it in her office, and keeps it there to this day. It’s a silly fact, sure, but it’s tied to a happy memory I’ll cherish forever.
What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
You mean besides their homework? Ha! Then I’d say everyone ought to treat themselves to Storrs Center at least once during their stay at the campus. It’s pricey, which is why I say “once,” but some of these restaurants are downright delicious! It’d be wrong not to experience that kind of goodness a time or two before the opportunity flies away for good. So go ahead! Reward yourself with a good meal, the variety there is astounding. Though my #1 personal recommendation has to go to Daddy’s Noodle Bar, hands down, followed by Mooya and then Insomnia Cookies.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
I’m sorry, but I can’t choose just one professor. Nearly every semester of my college experience, and even one remarkable summer session, presented me with a teacher who turned school from a chore to an addiction. Firm in their curriculum, but fair and accommodating for those who put in the effort. When they spoke, you could see the sun shining in their eyes; when they wrote, passion bled through every line. While each one was perfectly unique, it was clear that they shared a deep love for what they did. These professors didn’t just want their students to pass, they wanted them to improve, to thrive, and succeed. They made their students – made me – feel loved. Like, I could do anything I set my mind to, but even if I couldn’t, they would still be proud of me for honestly trying. That kind of support only made me want to work harder, and you know what? It was worth it, just to see them smile (and earn a couple scholarships in the meantime). I only hope, if they’re reading this, that they know who they are, and know just how grateful I am to have received their guidance.