I came here as a transfer student. I was going to a community college back in Hawaii, and then I decided to come here. I came here to New York knowing absolutely nobody. Most of my family are still back in Hawaii. I’m receiving the post-9/11 GI Bill. I did two tours in Iraq, and one in the Philippines.
I lived in Maryland for a little while, while I was stationed at a base down there. and I kind of fell in love with the northeast. I decided I was going to go to a school somewhere up here. It ended up being New York. The whole idea of a big university I didn’t like. I didn’t want to be just one among 30,000. I started looking at the smaller colleges, and I found Utica.
Coming here and experiencing what it’s like… college life back in Hawaii was nothing like this. I came here, and my first reaction was, ‘Wow, this is just like the movies.’ I can’t believe how easy it is to make connections, to my friends. I came here knowing not a single soul, and now I know most everybody. And it’s so easy. You’ve just got to put yourself out there. I’ve joined all kinds of clubs. I started with the orientation mentor program. That’s a lot of fun, interacting with the first-year students and being on the frontline of their arrival to college is awesome. I’ve part of the Asian Student Union, Arts Club, English Society. I do choir. I had no intention of singing. I just kind of got pulled into it. I used to do it when I was younger. I can’t read sheet music, but it’s a lot of fun. I look forward to it every week.
Professor Cormican is awesome. I was tempted to take a class of his next semester just for the hell of it – I don’t even need it at all. A lot of the new professors are pretty cool too. I was actually interested in doing a creative writing minor.
Over the summer, I was living off campus, and I was having some trouble with my VA payments. There was a short time when I was falling behind on bills and stuff and the Hodkinsons invited me over and helped me out. I thought, ‘They didn’t have to do that.’ But they did. I hear it a lot too, that you know people who have hard times the faculty and staff or coaches are always helping out. Everyone here, they don’t want to leave anyone behind. They want to make sure everyone is taken care of. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The more you put into UC, the more you get out of it. I’m just like addicted to that right now, just putting as much as I can in and enjoying it.