Diversity in college

Alexis Stickney was raised in New England but currently resides in Tampa, Florida and attends The University of Tampa. She is apart of 4 organizations on campus and coaches a U10 girls soccer team. She is working towards a Bachelors in Advertising and Public Relations at The University of Tampa and later looks to attend graduate school in California.

Unfamiliarity is often a problem for many of us when making decisions. We as humans do not like change, or things that cause us to break out of our shell. However, new things, new people, and new culture immersions are what causes growth. My mother once told me a story of a mermaid who swam in the same tide pool her whole life. She loved the tide pool she was in because it was filled with colorful coral and starfish. However, little did the mermaid know that if she left the tide pool there was an ocean right next to her with millions over other life to explore.

I lived my whole life similar to the story my Mom told me, coming from a small town I was nervous to ever leave. The life in other states was no different. Growing up in Connecticut a one hour drive will take you to New York, Rhode Island or Massachusetts but the change is very slight. That is why my junior year of highschool I decided I needed a big change in order to develop into a person I had no clue existed at that time.

My freshmen year of college I was enrolled at The University of Tampa. I did not visit before I moved in. I only did lots of research on the college and the city itself. Boy did I dive in! Being 1,400 miles away from my home town changed everything. Tampa, Florida is a mixture of southern hospitality, spanish flare and warm weather. In addition to the different atmosphere, I was thrown into meeting people from different parts of the world all equipped with different cultural backgrounds. I was learning from people and finding myself drawn to the idea of diversity. Diversity being something that is different from the rest.

Diversity opened a door for me that everyone should experience. Don’t find yourself trapped in the daily lifestyle and familiarity of your home town. Branchout! It may be scary at first, going somewhere that you have never been before, but the knowledge gained is something to keep for a life time. Leaving a place that is familiar opens your mind to other desires you may never knew you had. For example, while living in Connecticut I did not go to the beach very often because it was an hour away. When I came to The University of Tampa, I met lots of people who were die hard scuba divers and the beach was a short drive. I never thought scuba diving was something I would do, but it is now one of my passions.

I leave you with this. Do not sell yourself cheap when it comes to picking out a college close to your home. Find a college that is a different lifestyle, with lots of people from other places around the world. This new experience will open your mind to the world and all it has to offer. Knowledge is not only gained in the classroom but from your experiences!

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