I remember being so nervous on the first day of classes. As I had expected, mostly everyone knew each other already; they were dorm mates, or lived in the same building, or had friends in other dorms. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t intimidated. I sat by myself in every class and was too shy to say a word to anyone, despite usually being able to talk to people easily.
I had made the decision to stay at home and commute to UNH when I first received my acceptance letter. I lived only one town over and did not think it would be practical to spend so much more money just to live on campus. I was definitely aware that this may make it harder for me to make friends but I decided to at least give it a try.
My first day of my FIRE class, I met my amazing and super friendly peer advisor Samantha. I felt like I could ask her anything and she would help me. I also met other people in my major, and immediately we all became friends. We had many classes together and I found myself opening up to them more, hanging out between classes, and studying together. We encouraged each other to go to events around campus together too. FIRE reduced any fears I had of not being included on campus; the program encouraged participation in everything happening at UNH, which I took advantage of to the fullest.
Now, a few months into my first year here at UNH and I feel like I’m still meeting new people every day. I go to all sorts of campus events, ranging from cultural nights to sports games to even seeing the President. I’m the Public Relations chair of the Middle Eastern Cultural Association and I recently joined Student Senate. I find myself constantly busy and I love it. For my next four years here at UNH, I hope to accomplish many things, such as traveling abroad, learning a new language, getting an internship in the city, and continuing to stay active in student organizations on campus.
The FIRE program made it easy for me to meet other fellow PAUL students, but it also helped me gain the confidence to try other new things on campus. I don’t even feel like I commute anymore; I am on campus all the time, and I’ve come to realize that UNH feels like a second home. I am so excited for the next four years here and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.
About Nooran Alhamdan:
Nooran is a first year student in the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics. She is majoring in economics and hopes to additionally double major in political science. Nooran hopes to use the education she receives at UNH to dedicate her life to humanitarian work, and is looking to law school for the future. She is chair of Public Relations for the Middle Eastern Cultural Association and a member of the UNH Student Senate.