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Seniors reflect on their good times at UA

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An aerial view of the USS Arizona Mall Memorial on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. The UA has its own unique culture and environment that impresses each student in different ways.

Graduation is a time for seniors to reflect on their educational experience at the University of Arizona. The Daily Wildcat spoke to some seniors about some of their favorite memories: 

Hallie Hobday, Global Studies and Spanish:

My best memory from the University of Arizona is when I studied abroad in Chile last semester. I wanted to experience another culture, because I’d already studied abroad before that, and I wanted to learn more Spanish.

[I was] learning how to be independent, on my own, in a country that doesn’t speak my native language, so I had to really push myself out there and learning that just because we do one thing one way in the United States doesn’t mean it’s right, because every country does things their own way — every culture has their own different way of living. 

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I lived with a divorced Chilean woman and three dogs, and she didn’t speak any English, so it was a difficult learning curve. The Spanish in Chile is so different to the Spanish I learned here because they use so much slang and they talk so fast. It took me over a month to get used to it.

The empanadas are the best food I ate in Chile. You can get them on the beach for 50 cents. I was always at the beach because I lived about five minutes from it. I never got to go in the water, because it was freezing.

To celebrate my graduation, I’m going to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas the weekend after. After graduation, I’m moving back home, and I’m going to save up and live with my parents, and I might get my master’s in business. 

Gunnar Bartsch, Psychology: 

It was fall 2018. It was the second or third week of September. We had to wake up early, meet up at campus and take a charter bus to get to Prescott, Ariz., for a social justice retreat. We got there at 11 a.m. and went to lunch immediately. It was all vegan, but the food was really good. 

We were at a camp and started doing activities related to social justice and inclusivity. We split into our groups after that for the weekend. After dinner, we did one more activity about school inequality. 

We were supposed to go back to the dorms, but I decided to collect everyone to play hide and seek in the campgrounds. Being in nature was really fun. There were three deer that almost killed us; javelinas were everywhere. 

At night, we got to play drums from Native Americans and we learned how to play a proper tribal beat. We got camaraderie out of that. People started opening up and sharing their different identities, which was rewarding. 

Being open and vulnerable and being yourself is what draws people to you. It was an opportunity to get to know other people and not know them as a shallow leader, in addition to learning how to be a culturally diverse leader.

Nathaniel Gallegos, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, wrote in an email:

The Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program opened many opportunities for my future endeavors, such as increasing my knowledge of research experience, providing me with helpful GRE test prep resources and teaching me pertinent information regarding graduate school. 

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As the summer of 2018 approached, my cohort and I traveled to the University of California, Los Angeles, to present our research at the annual McNair Conference. 

I made many unforgettable memories, including my first visit to UCLA, my first time away from home and my first time staying in a college dorm. As a McNair scholar, I experienced these “firsts” with people who have become some of my best friends. By being a part of the program, I have grown as an individual and this experience is one of the most valuable throughout my college career. 


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