One of the most asked questions to college students is, “Where are you from?” Typical answers up here at Niagara include local towns and counties such as Buffalo and Rochester, as well as those who travel “internationally” from Canada. My college journey started 500 miles away, as I loaded up my car and headed from Long Island for Niagara Falls.
Next, of course, came the follow-up questions: How did you hear about Niagara? Why would you travel so far? If you asked me even a year and a half ago if I would even consider attending a college so far away from friends and family and with frigid winters, I would probably have responded with a quick “no way!” However, I kept my options open, and applied after my former boss, Eric Kaczmarski, ‘12, told me about his experience as a student here at Niagara University.
Eric was a member of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. I first got a glance at his college career during an internship he had at home before his senior year. After touring the university about a week before the decision deadline, I knew Niagara was the best fit for me. So I accepted and I began my TESOL undergrad career in the fall of 2014.
When I first arrived on campus, I immediately started to compare everything to how life is on Long Island. Everyone noticed my accent right off the bat, something that I am continually reminded of, but I also noticed the accents of the people from around this area. The weather here is pretty similar to that on Long Island, except for the high winds that the winter brought on. Although it is the norm for the winter up here to bring many feet of snow, I noticed that there was almost an equivalent number of storms at home, and the temperatures were pretty much the same. The transition from my high school life at home to life at college was very tough at first, but once I was all settled in and became accustomed to everyday life here at Niagara, it was just like a second home.
In terms of traveling a long distance, it is something that I have become accustomed to. Whether it be a nine-hour train ride, seven-hour car ride, or one-hour plane ride, the journey to and from Niagara Falls has simply become a routine for me over breaks from school. With the spring semester now coming to a close, I am looking forward to returning back home for the summer, but will miss being up here at school. I am very excited to see what the next few years will have in store for me here at Niagara.