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When I think about why I came to the University of Arizona, one reason in particular sticks out to me the most. I have lived all over the county, but I ultimately found my home here at the UA. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and have moved nine times since then; I have lived on the east coast, the west coast, and in the south, all of which are extremely different from one another. I expected to graduate high school from where I lived in Mississippi, and I always planned on attending a university there, but in the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I was told my family was moving to Arizona.
Leaving my home and moving across the country was not something I was happy about, but it happened, and now I could not be more thankful. Upon my arrival to Arizona, I was intimidated. I knew no one, and the difference in culture had already proven to be a shock. It took months for me to fully adapt, but once I found my niche and made some friends, things began to look up.
The plan to attend a university in Mississippi was still in play, but one weekend during my senior year, I took a trip down to the University of Arizona to visit a friend who was a year older than me who was already attending the UA. The drive was an easy two hours, and my excitement grew with each mile gained. Tucson was a new place to me. Clearly I have had plenty of experience with new places, but instead of having my ever so common nerves present, I felt happy to be on my way to explore Tucson.
I pulled up as the sun was setting and parked my car outside of the Arizona Sonoran residence hall, commonly known as AZSO. Friends who I had not seen in months greeted me with hugs and plans for the evening, while bragging about how great their first semester was going. They told stories about how great their sororities were, how fun the people in their dorm were, and how excited they were for me to meet their new friends. Needless to say, I was anticipating the best, and I was not disappointed.
Everyone I met was welcoming and willing to let me see his or her Wildcat way of life. While showing me around, I could see that they were making the most out of their college experience. We walked around campus, they showed me different Greek houses, we ate at local restaurants, and I soon felt a feeling of comfort. I wasn’t even a student, but I felt like one. I felt at home at UA. The decision to part ways from my previous dream university was difficult, but it was what I knew was best for me.
Before attending college, I lived in Arizona for almost three years, which gave me the time to appreciate this state more than I thought I ever could. I decided that I did not want to start over again, considering my life had already been filled with constant change, so I filled out my application to the UA. After my visit, I knew it was the school for me. Obviously the weather is beautiful and palm trees are great to look at, but this campus has so much more to offer than just beautiful scenery. I truly have grown as a person here. I have gained leadership skills and confidence through my sorority, strengthened my communication skills through my jobs on campus, and have networked and made connections with students who have the same goals as I do through my internship. The University of Arizona was the only university I applied to. I knew that I belonged here.