For all of the complaining that I have done about UNC Charlotte in the past few semesters — charges for Football, increases in parking, health insurance, tuition, and did I mention the fees for football — it served me well.
The campus is quite large and boasts roaming geese that love to wander out in front of your car and stroll across the lane. Don’t get caught hitting one because it’s a huge fine… I worked in the OASES (Adult Student) office almost every semester. It was a great work environment with wonderful people and I met many other non-traditional students in the office. UNCC has a garden, trails, a greenhouse, and an amazing workout facility, including yoga classes with my favorite instructor Jinny. There is a massive library that I spent many hours in, pretty good food choices and fabulous coffee shops. During my time there, I had several fabulous professors who also served as mentors and were there for the ups and downs of my adventure.
So, now for the pat myself on the back section…
I volunteered as a mentor for the Adult Mentoring Program for Students (AMPS) at UNC Charlotte and also served as a Community Service Volunteer Note Taker for Disability Services — I was twice nominated for the Dean of Student’s Magical Mentor Award on a campus of 25,000 students. I was on the Dean’s list and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies with a European concentration, and also a minor in Africana Studies. I am a member of Member of Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society for non-traditional students, the National Political Science Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha, and Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. Whew, now I know why all I did was study for four years.
I made a lot of wonderful friends at UNC Charlotte.
My friend Hiram was a special man, larger than life figuratively and literally. He was an amazing chef, funny and very intelligent. He spent many hours tutoring me in math, and never gave up. He even figured out how to replace numbers with nouns and verbs so that my non-mathematical brain could comprehend equations. In the fall of 2010, he had a heart attack his last semester on campus and passed away during finals. As I stood in line to greet his parents and girlfriend at his funeral I was struck by how many professors and students were in attendance, and also spoke. He will always be remembered by his friends and family, but also for his contributions to UNC Charlotte. His parents accepted a posthumous degree on his behalf, and the University allowed me to plant a memorial tree in his honor in front of the OASES office/next to the Friday building (business and math), the two places where he spent most of his time.
UNC Charlotte gave me the opportunity for growth personally and professionally. It was quite an experience attending school with students half my age — sometimes funny, shocking, good and at times, a little trying. I also had great experiences studying abroad at King’s College London, travelling with my sister and on my own. I met family in Croatia for the first time, who I am now in contact with on a regular basis. Recently, I had the chance to meet up with them in October for the Chicago Marathon. Overall, it was a long and fabulous four years.