Monthly Archives: March 2021

There Are No Limits

By Emma Bennett

When I was a senior at my small high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate and go to a big college.

I had lived in Jamestown almost my entire life, and although I loved growing up here, I was sure that the next step for me would be far, far away.What I missed when I was at a big college

Once I started college at a university out of state, I began to realize that I had taken the best things about a small school for granted. As a freshman, I was paying my dues and taking responsibilities that nobody else wanted, just waiting for my turn to be passionate about what I was doing. I grew increasingly frustrated with my decision to go somewhere that limited me to one, solitary identity: a freshman musical theatre major.

I missed knowing people who were interested in different things than me. I missed performing every chance I got. Above all, I missed being involved and feeling like an important part of what was going on around me. I knew I had the potential to be far more than just that one thing, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

Discovering UJ

Eventually, I came home for a visit that happened to coincide with UJ’s fall musical. I was incredibly jealous at how many people got the chance to perform on the Reiland’s beautiful stage. I met some of the students involved in the show and was surprised to learn that they weren’t all theatre majors; they were graphic designers, engineers, nurses, and everything in between. Every single one of them was immersed in and excited about other activities around campus.

I had seen many shows here before, but that experience really helped push me to make the decision to come to UJ; the perfect school for me had been just around the corner all along.

Becoming a part of the campus community

I was so nervous to start classes here. Most people find it difficult to move away for college, but the hardest part for me was coming back to my hometown. I was determined to keep my head down and play the part of the dutiful freshman for the rest of the year, but I was met with such positivity and acceptance that I quickly became a part of the campus community. Since I transferred to UJ, I have become more than I thought possible: a double major (I never would have known I was interested in marketing!), an actor/designer/director, a member of the choir board, and so much more.

I’ve had the opportunity to work multiple jobs, meet so many interesting people, and even help develop a new service organization on campus. I no longer feel defined by one little piece of who I am. There are absolutely no limits to who you can be, and that’s something I learned here.

I came to college hoping to grow and learn and become a better version of myself. UJ has been a wonderful place to do just that. I am so thankful for all the professors, classmates, and friends that have accepted and challenged me along the way, and really made UJ my home.

From Uruguay to ND

By Valentino Grasiuso

When you’re born in a third world country, most people don’t even think of the possibility of studying in the United States; it just seems so far from reality.

But, inspired by the dream of playing basketball at a higher level, I decided to take a chance in the land of opportunities when I was only 16.

It was nothing but pure excitement and fun during my exchange year—so much so that I decided to come back for my senior year of high school and try to find a University to attend.

UJ was the first school to give me a chance, and from the moment I opened the first package, I knew it was a good fit. Traveling further north to an even smaller town seemed crazy at the moment, but that’s one of the many lessons that this experience gave me: it doesn’t matter where you are—what matters are the people you are with.

Even though basketball didn’t end up working out, I am grateful for everyone in the program for taking me in and giving me a chance. I realized I was still looking for something bigger. Basketball opened many doors for me, took me to the United States, and now it was time to move on.

I found my spot in the team, not during the year I played, but during the years I didn’t. Being a part of the group in a different role made me realize that sometimes, experiences are meant to take you to a different place, but we shouldn’t be afraid of letting go.

UJ has a very special place in my heart. Throughout my years, I met some of the most incredible people. The ability to stop by your professor’s office to talk about schoolwork or personal endeavors is something you don’t hear from a lot of schools, so I am very grateful I had the chance of learning from the people I did. They not only taught me business, but many life lessons I will carry with me for a long time.

My English wasn’t very good at first. Throughout the years, my friends always worked with me to progressively improve and become part of their culture. An experience like this, being 6000 miles away from home, is not easy. I missed, I doubted, I struggled, but UJ always made me have a positive look on whatever was going on.

For future/current students and alumni, I would say: take risks, do what you love, and embrace discomfort. Life is what you make it, and opportunities seem crazy until they don’t. They say we have two lives; the second one starts when we realize we have only one. UJ helped me start living my second life.