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FIRST SEMESTER EXPERIENCES & REFLECTIONS

 

Norman Rockwell, a famous American illustrator, but more so an extraordinary human tells that to him the first and the last thing is “the story”. Furthermore, to me the greatest thing we can offer to each other is also “the story”.

 

I am writing this at the start of a new year while sitting at the gate of an international airport. Among all the people waiting for the flight to take off to Istanbul, I feel tremendously grateful for all the people (and all “the stories”) this year brought, and the year I had. Moreover, I feel greatly enthusiastic for the one I will have. The blinks of the lights of the planes bring me back the memories of past couple months that have lighted my path on life, and youth.

Sitting by myself at this airport cafe, I finally realized, and become astonished by the compassion and love that grew in me for the home of education that brought these, University at Buffalo.

 

Past couple months, I have learnt a lot. It was not just how to write code in certain languages like Python or JavaScript, nor was it only about solving problems of limit, derivatives or integrals. More importantly, I learnt that there are only a few limits with the support I felt at UB.

 

Through UB’s intercultural community, I have learnt about new cultures only with the few steps I took on campus through my friends from Hungary, South Korea, Zimbabwe, France, Australia, Nepal, India…

Sabres Hockey Game .jpg

Within this limited time, I had many firsts. I had been to the first university football game of my life. I cannot tell if we really won because I was more excited about the game atmosphere than the game itself. I watched football multiple times now, and had my friends explain it to me million times.

 

Fortunately, I understand a bit now. Nonetheless, I still am learning football, and it is safe to say that even if it is just a bit, I got the hang of it.

 

Speaking of football, I was heartbroken over the incident that happened with Damar Hamlin. Nevertheless, the loyalty and the love people had for the city of Buffalo and the Bills amazed me since my first day. I am over the moon to see him doing better today; the unity and the strength Buffalo has proved themselves once again. For this semester, I really want to see Bills play too.

 

Followingly, I experienced a professional hockey game for the first time as well. Getting the hang of hockey was a lot easier than football. The KeyBank Center was packed, and it was wonderful to see Sabres win.

During the fall semester, I baked cookies from the scratch for the first time with my friends. Honestly, those cookies turned out pretty bad, but we still enjoyed the baked cookie dough. So, we all might need more practice for spring semester. However, for this spring semester I want to bake much better cookies that are at least cookies and not baked cookie dough. In addition to this, I tried playing pool with my friends for the first time, and got beaten very poorly. Any suggestions or tutorials on baking cookies or playing pool are much appreciated :)

 

During this semester, I have been through my first Buffalo storm. The storm, fortunately, did not affect our campus as much as the other parts of the city.

 

During the storm, I met new people, and with my friends built a snow person that we named “Girlboss”. We were going through exams, and decided to build a revolutionary version of a snow person to represent some of our goals and imagination. “Girlboss” was this total legend. She did not only good grades and led a healthy life, but also even got tickets to Taylor Swift’s The Eras tour, which broke records this year and unfortunately had a total fiasco with Ticketmaster. Any Taylor fan knows, how much of a legend this is.

 

During this storm, we challenged the status quo too. After building the snow person, and having it ruined we hanged out in the kitchen of the Richmond building. While the girls were warming up, our guy friends baked cookies for the whole friend group.

UB Football Game.jpg

In addition to this, Thanksgiving was a lovely time of the year. It was a time of reflection and gratefulness. It allowed me the wonderful opportunity of celebrating Friendsgiving, which is a blend of Thanksgiving with friends. There were almost fifteen of us gathered in the Richmond common area. Right after the storm, we had a wonderful night of food, conversation, laughter, and competitions. We cooked traditional foods like turkey stuffing, sweet potato, and not so traditional foods like mac n cheese, and garlic bread, which I mean to get the recipe of.

This semester I also received my first paycheck ever. Working at the International Office of Education has been such a rewarding experience for me especially with our office staff and the experience in an office environment. Our office has a very welcoming, friendly environment.

 

To be all frank, the final’s week was one of the highlights of my semester. This is not because I love finals, but because it was a whole experience. I had many late-night trips that were accompanied by orders of food to the Silverman library with my friends. Our study sessions were full of studying, but also good conversations and a lot of laughter too. Also, during this time we had late night pancakes, which whole campus community was excited about, at C3.

 

GIRLBOSS Snowman_edited.jpg

This semester, I started doing yoga with my friends, which has been life changing for me.

In addition to my social experiences of fall semester, I also became the Underclassmen Representative for Society of Women Engineers club, Public Chair for the Association for Computing Machinery club, and participated regularly in clubs like Rotaract and Key Club.

While setting goals for the next semester nowadays, I am very excited about the things awaiting.

 

I stand with determination and passion. I am eighteen, I feel so old but so new.

YAZGI AKATA

UB Freshman

Buffalo Sabres Game

UB Football Game Cheerleaders

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