186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

Month: August 2013 (page 1 of 3)

Once a Blue Hen, Always a Blue Hen

I’ll be completely honest. Delaware was never my first choice. I have lived in Delaware since I was seven years old and I never imagined that I would end up going to the University of Delaware. In fact, it was the last place I wanted to go because everyone I knew from high school would be going here.

I wanted to be an editor for a top magazine in New York City and only a college with a journalism program was the gateway to my dreams. I only toured one school (not UD) and after a tour of the campus I was even more in love with the university, and bought a hoodie and T-shirt to prove that I was going there. I even committed to the school, sending in a down payment of $500.

Sadly, much like Victoria’s story, the issue came down to cost, and we just weren’t able to afford it. I was absolutely devastated at first, but as soon as I told my best friends that I would be staying in Delaware, they couldn’t contain their excitement.

I remember my Honors orientation day like it were yesterday – it was extremely hot out. I got my picture taken to go on a cool ID (they were new designs my freshman year), and I met some really cool kids who I still see on campus to this day. I knew after that day that things might be all right at Delaware. Plus, you could say going to school near home had its perks. I could do laundry for free, go see my family whenever I wanted, and I was one of the only people with a car.

My best friends from high school and me at our first UD game as students.

My best friends from high school and me at our first UD game as students.

After being here for about a year, I realized how lucky I was that things didn’t work out with my dream school. I had a great roommate (who I am still good friends with today), I found a place in the best organization (PRSSA) and I had a home in the perfect major (Communication). For all of those new Blue Hens who are from the First State, remember that you’ve really always been a Blue Hen at heart; you just have to find what means the most to you here at UD.

What I learned from all of this was that things do happen for a reason. Even if it wasn’t the place I wanted to go originally, it is by far the ONLY place for me. I found a home at Delaware. The sense of pride that you feel each day (especially the first day of your senior year) is absolutely overwhelming. You may not feel like a Blue Hen at first – it takes time to find your place at such a big university! However, when you do you’ll know it’s such a great place to be…and you’ll never want to leave!

Cheers to whatever year you’re in. Extra cheers to the seniors like me. Never say the “G word.”

Chelsey Rodowicz

Delaware the Prizefighter: My UD Story

A stack of college books, over twenty visits to schools up and down the east coast, and a final pro-and-con sheet between the last two contenders: that’s how I chose UD.

I’m the oldest child in my family, which translates into: “My parents had no idea what I needed to do to apply to school.” As a result, they went for the super-over-prepared route, which, in retrospect, was honestly a lot better than the alternative. As early as my junior year of high school, I was so ready for the next step, a fresh start, a new location. I would sit by the window in my house’s office, covered with at least two sweatshirts and the warmest available blanket (ah, the wonderful weather of Connecticut), and would look out at the barren wintertime woods – all the while rifling through college books like The Best 368 Colleges or the Fiske Guide to Colleges. I purposely would bookmark all the warmer college locations at my fingertips; my number one requirement was getting away from the cold.

As parents dealing with the college process for the first time, my mom and dad thought it was standard to visit every school possibile on my ever-growing list. So, during the April break of my junior year of high school, my mom and I fully experienced Southern United States: we stayed in hidden, out-of-the-way hotels in the middle of empty tobacco fields; ate at restaurants that served grits and fried everything; and were constantly met with friendly Southern accents. The April break trip ended with a resounding “meh”; the South was a little too southern for me.

Florida was an entirely different story. As someone who spent five years of my life in the Sunshine State and whose family – myself included – visited my grandparents in the gulf-coast town of Port Charlotte annually, the college odyssey to Florida was a much easier trip in the sense that everything was so much more familiar. But in the end, I crossed both schools that I toured – Eckerd and Flagler (Never heard of them? Yup, that’s what extensive college research can do…) – off my list permanently. Neither felt like a “YAY I love this place,” but more like a, “That strange man holding a weird protest sign keeps looking at me and I want to go home.”

Flagler according to the internet.

Flagler according to the internet.

What the area around Flagler really was like…plus the buildings didn’t really look like as nice as their online counterparts.

Protesters

Protesters

Protesters

Protesters 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I decided to focus on the Mid-Atlantic region, which in my mind, as four-to-five hours in the right downward direction, still fulfilled my “south” requirement. After the nail-biting arrival of acceptance letters, two schools made the final cut; basically, I went to each last contestant’s Accepted Students Day. Picture a boxing match: in one corner, dressed in a blue-and-white unnecessarily expensive matching track suit, Villanova sits filing his nails before bell sounds. In the other corner, decked out in blue-and-gold, Delaware, the unassuming fighter, waits patiently, mentally contemplating the best strategy for when the first round finally starts.

Ultimately, of course, Delaware, the patient prizefighter, had a few more tricks up his sleeve. At UD’s Accepted Students Day, with the balloon arches, welcoming people, copious cherry trees still in bloom, and the overall happy feel, Delaware won the match.

 

The Time UD Almost UDidn’t

Freshman Formal - Photo by Lauren Genova

Freshman Formal – Photo by Lauren Genova

Welcome, or welcome back, Blue Hens. For those readers new to the blog, my name is Claire Davanzo, and I’m the resident junior here at 186. In keeping with the theme of this week (that is, how the blog team arrived at UD), I almost wish I had some picture perfect college story of my arrival for you… Almost, because things around me are never picture perfect, and there wouldn’t be much of a college story if they were.

So I’m here to tell you about the time UD almost UDidn’t.

With the help and guidance of my remarkable mother, I applied and was accepted to nine different universities. I’d visited each one, and at the beginning, it seemed almost impossible to choose between them. A few difficult decisions later, and I had narrowed my way down to two.

The first was The College of New Jersey: a home favourite, it’s less than an hour from Parsippany, my home town, and boasts a notably intelligent, selective group of students on a beautiful campus. The second, as expected, was the University of Delaware: decidedly farther from home, with a much larger, though equally beautiful, campus and almost no one I knew attending.

To help make my decision, I visited both schools again. Again, it would be nice to tell you that I “felt it,” or “just knew” when I came back to UD, but I didn’t. I didn’t know at all. The one thing that could reassure me was, again, my mom, this time promising that with all the amazing choices on my list of schools, I’d be happy no matter where I chose.

I thought orientation would help me feel The Spark. However, what it did (and I’ve no shame in admitting this) was make me all the more nervous, all the more wary. And so with the rest of collegiate preparations. The closer the beginning of my freshman year came, the more and more nervous I was beginning to feel.

… And then Hurricane Irene happened.

Hopefully this will be the first year at UD where my class and I do not have to deal with a hurricane. But, my freshman year, Irene was what pushed my move-in back. It was just enough time for me to calm my nerves and brace myself for college.

And I’m going to be honest with you. I did not fit with UD right away. It took more or less a month for me to feel like this school is where I belong. For me to settle into my classes and the rhythms of campus. For me to start calling Russell home instead of the dorm.

But (my homesick freshman hens, this is for you) it did happen. And I do know now that I’ve chosen the right place. I hope UDidn’t give up on UD just yet, because it’s a wonderful place to be. I hope you come to love it here as much as I do.

Jumping Time Zones- My College Story

My name is Shannon Poulsen and I was born and raised in Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I am a student who actively chose to move from the beautiful, windy city that I love to Newark, DE, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

 

Shannon shows us her UD pride!

Shannon shows us her UD pride!

I am a girl of many tastes. In high school, I was involved in so many activities that to list them brings me over my word count. I knew that to keep myself happy, I needed a school that could offer me all the opportunities that I wanted.

 

Coming into my second year of college, I’m the Public Relations chair for Riot Act Improv, a blogger for the Honors Program, an Orientation Leader, a writer for the Black Sheep, and an actor, writer, and director for the Biweekly Show (a satire news show through STN 49). I dove right into the ocean of opportunities I found at Delaware.

 

What most people find interesting, however, is not my involvement. They don’t ask me about the atmosphere of UD, nor the academic challenges, my majors or minors, where I live on campus. They always ask me, “How/why did you chose UD if you’re from Chicago?”

 

College can be whatever you make it, and for me, it was, and still is, an opportunity to grow. I knew I wanted to jump out and reach someplace new. If I physically stretched my boundaries, then I could stretch myself to be an even better student in college.

 

One day, I got a letter in the mail from UD. I laughed at the concept of saying “Yeah, I go to Delaware!” and cheering for the “Mighty Blue Hens!” After some research, I realized the school had merit. Lots of merit, in fact, and also contained a lot of the things I was looking for. I decided to visit the school to weigh it against others.

 

Now. This you might have read somewhere else from another writer who might have had to sound as persuasive as possible, but here is the honest truth. I chose UD because of a feeling. When I stepped onto campus, I felt excited! I had butterflies! I had visited multiple other schools and none of them made me feel like I had a crush. The best part is that my crush on the university is reciprocated. UD loves me back. We’re in a happy and healthy relationship that everyone can achieve.

I am a firm believer that college is what you make of it. You can have a good time no matter where you go as long as you have a positive attitude and try to make it work. I absolutely love my experience here at UD and would not change anything.

 

As for the distance, sometimes you need to leave home to find what makes you truly, truly happy. I’ll forever be glad that I did.

~Shannon Poulsen

 

How I Became a Blue Hen

In so many ways, UD is my home. But as a new class populates campus I am reminded of the beginning of my experience at UD, and a time when this was not always the case. 

 

 Throughout the college search, University of Delaware was not my first choice. I applied on a whim. Hey, it used the Common App, I had heard good things about it, and figured why not. But there was another school that was top of my list. It was in-state, many of my friends had gone, and I had already convinced myself that to have any shot at happiness in life, I had to attend this school. It wasn’t so much the school itself that had me so captivated, but rather the aspect of familiarity it possessed that made it so appealing. It was nothing against UD, or any of the other institutions I applied to. My mind was simply closed to any other option. It was already made up.

 

 If it is not already obvious, things did not go as planned.

 

 The cause of this plot twist can be summed up in one word: money. As it happens, when decisions came around, UD offered me a financial package that made it the most economically feasible option, and as my family wasn’t exactly rolling in dough at the time, it was decided that UD was the most practical option, and therefore, where I would attend. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Devastated is closer to the truth. (I hadn’t even visited our university at this point, but apparently I didn’t need to. Apparently, I knew everything.) I decided I would try it out for a semester to please the parental units, but I was already looking into the credits I would need to take to transfer at the end of the fall semester. Again, this is not what happened.

 

 

It took two weeks at UD for all thoughts of leaving to completely evaporate from my head. No sooner had I set foot on campus than I was swept up in a whirlwind of new friendships, (I met one of my best friends while brushing my teeth), new opportunities, (Thursday nights found me, someone with no ballet experience, doing pliés in a dance class), accessible professors, (my English professor made a Harry Potter reference on the first day of class and I nearly passed out from joy), all in environment where I felt taken care of, and at home.

 

 

 

I remember walking past Trabant one day and seeing people playing with puppies to my right, looking to my left and catching an Irish step-dancing flash mob and then witnessing a fellow student walk past a tour of prospective students and yell, “come to Delaware, it’s better than candy!” I remember sincerely wondering if this was real life.

 

 

And it was.

 

 

Rather than being consumed with thoughts of transferring, my mind quickly became occupied with how I could get more integrated into this incredible community of Blue Hens. I don’t think I even remembered how to say the word “transfer” until later that semester, a friend from home called me.

Bleeding blue and gold with YouDee at our first football game.

Bleeding blue and gold with YouDee at our first football game.

 

 

“Hey, did you send in your application?” Long pause. I had no idea what she was referring to.

 

“You were gonna transfer…?” I suddenly remembered my original reluctance to attend UD.

 

My response was simple: “I don’t want to be anywhere else! I’m home.”

 

 

So, if you’re a fellow UD student, here’s to another fantastic year.

 

 

If you’re an incoming freshman, get ready for some of the best years of your life.

 

 

And if you’re still looking for the university that best suits you, I’d like to give you two pieces of advice: keep an open mind, and if you have not already done so, check out the University of Delaware.  

 

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