Thursday, March 24, 2016
Madi Oliwa

My college search experience? Overwhelming to say the least.

In my junior year at Bedford High School, I thought I had all of the answers. I thought I would go to North Carolina and have a college experience like you see in the movies: Going to the beach, meeting boys and living a stress free life. Because tanning and meeting cute guys is what college is all about, right? I felt a lot of pressure to get into a “big name” college, whether it was right for me or not.

I visited and applied to many schools, and UNH Manchester was not even one of them. I wondered what I was doing spending all of this money on applications. Why? Because I truly had no idea where I wanted to go; I had just heard too many sales pitches that all sounded the same. People asked me where I wanted to go, and I would just say the first school that came to my mind. None of the colleges felt right; I couldn’t see myself anywhere. There were no “ah ha!” moments, but there was definitely an Instagram post or two that would have made it seem like it. My college search was analogous to searching for the elusive boyfriend.

When the college search was winding down and I still had no idea where I was going to go, I decided to do some overnights to see if I could find “the one.” Those overnights were really the icing on the cake; between the noise until 3 a.m. on a Monday and the pleasant surprise that awaited me in the sink as I went to brush my teeth: I knew that college dorm life was not for me. I already struggle with my sleeping as it is; I definitely didn't need the sound of music or whatever else disturbing me at 3 a.m., especially before a big exam. I also didn’t want to have some clingy, messy or mean roommate. I could not put myself in debt for that nonsense. I needed to know I could be somewhere that would enable me to focus on my studies and be efficient with my time.

So to sum this up, junior year I thought I had all of the answers; and then senior year came and I realized I didn't have any answers. But I finally realized that I didn't have to have all of the answers. My mom told me about UNH Manchester and their new building that was 15 minutes from the house. At first I thought it was a terrible idea — live at home? No way. But then I thought more about it and I actually liked the sound of it, I knew I would be focused and save a lot of money. Heck, I wouldn't have to wear flip-flops when I wanted to take a shower and walk down a long hall in my bathrobe with all of my toiletries. I knew that I was going into a pre-med/pre-dental track, and truly needed to limit my distractions.

I visited UNH Manchester and loved the small campus community feel; and I have grown to love it even more. I love the small classes and how they make me a better student. I love that I can go to the fifth floor and talk to all of my teachers. I have found the staff to be incredibly attentive and accessible for my needs. I also love being independent. I hated the thought of being trapped on some campus, especially because most schools don’t allow freshmen to have cars. I love being able to go where I want when I want, like visit my friends in Boston! I also have the flexibility to work: I am an LNA, student ambassador, hostess and babysitter. I am already getting patient care hours as a freshman, if I decide to go to physician assistant school — and UNH Manchester has an amazing relationship with MCPHS, right down the street. 

UNH Manchester is perfect because it is a place for students who know exactly what they want to do, and for students who are a little fuzzy about what they want to do. Is UNH Manchester a resort? No. But neither is real life. UNH Manchester is a place where the staff and professors actually care about your success.

And hey, no “freshman 15” for me, and I saved over $25,000 this year.

UNH Manchester offers the career-driven programs, faculty talent and student-centered community to shape your future.