Micaela Collins’ UConn connection started back when, as a pre-mature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Francis Hospital, she was visited by the UConn Women’s Basketball team members Morgan Valley and Diana Taurasi. She says though it is a great story, what really drew her to UConn was the Neag School of Education where she will be graduating with a degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish.
Why did you choose UConn?
I chose to come to the University of Connecticut because of the esteemed education program! I have wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old and UConn provided me with the best opportunity to fulfill that dream. Also, I have always loved watching UConn sports, and it felt like a natural fit for me.
What’s your major and why did you choose it?
I am an elementary education major with a concentration in English and a minor in Spanish. As I said above, I have wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old. I was the kid who spent summer vacation playing school with her old books and teaching her stuffed animals how to add, subtract, read, and write. Therefore, being an elementary education major has been a lifelong dream that I have finally gotten the chance to fulfill. I am a Spanish minor because I have always loved the Spanish language. My grandmother exclusively spoke Spanish when I was little, so I always felt a connection to the language. After high school I wanted to continue to develop my skills, so I decided to add a minor to my coursework, and that was one of the best decisions I made at UConn. The Spanish minor, and the experiences I gained from the coursework, have proven to be useful in my education and future profession.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I have one more year of school to gain my masters degree. While I plan on spending the first semester of my masters year in London, England, I will be back at UConn for one more semester. After that, I plan to be an elementary school teacher in Connecticut!
What activities were you involved with as a student?
As a student I tried to be involved in many organizations. Some of my favorite organizations to be involved in were the WOW program, Community Outreach, PATH, and Leadership in Diversity. Each opportunity taught me something and has given me something that I will take with me wherever life takes me. WOW taught me how to make connections with people who you are only going to see for a weekend. Community Outreach reaffirmed the importance of volunteering and helped me develop into a more organized leader. PATH gave me the chance to give back to fellow Honors students and share advice based on my experience. Finally, Leadership in Diversity has provided me with the opportunity to grow individually and professionally through all of the work that I have been able to do with that organization. While all of these organizations have taught me so much more than I could include in one paragraph, the above sentences are some of the main takeaways that I will take from my time in these organizations.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
UConn has prepared me for the next chapter in my life in more ways that I can count. UConn has taught me the importance of hard work, determination, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. From classes, to finding things to get involved in, each and every experience at UConn has prepared me for the next chapter in my life.
What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?
The community! Although UConn is a huge campus, it rarely feels like that. Any time you are on campus, you will see someone wearing the blue and white and will be greeted with a smile. You really can make this 18,000 person campus feel like a place where you belong!
Any advice for incoming first-year students?
Get involved!!! One of the biggest pieces of advice that I always give incoming first-year students is to find their people. It can be in sports, volunteering, or even the moon appreciation club! It really helps ensure that UConn becomes as much like a second home as it can be. I would also say to enjoy your time here because it really does fly by! These four years have flown by even faster than high school.
What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
Every student should try to go to at least one basketball game in the student section. That atmosphere will really make you believe that we are the basketball capital of the world. Also, make sure to try as many Dairy Bar flavors as possible!!
Who was your favorite professor and why?
It is hard to pick a favorite professor! I have had the pleasure of being able to learn from so many amazing professors, but if I had to pick one I would say that the professors in Neag are unlike any other professor here at UConn. They are some of the most supportive, knowledgeable, and approachable people on campus. If you have any desire to be a teacher, I would highly recommend asking any of the professors in the Neag School of Education to sit down for a chat.
What’s one thing that will always make you think of UConn?
The name Jonathan will forever belong to Jonathan the Husky!