by Oleg Ignatenko

As the spring semester comes to a close and there is only one more week left until the summer break, I wanted to reflect on the positives/negatives of the year and sum up what it’s like to be a Miami Hurricane. This has been my first official year at the University of Miami and I wanted to share with you my personal experience.

With so many highlights throughout the year, it is very difficult to pick one specific moment that stands out more than the other. The first moment I walked through the University, I knew I had picked the right place to study. The modern facilities, the warm weather, the sense of pride in the air and not to mention the palm trees that stand as tall as the spirit of the Canes. If I could use one word to describe it, that word would be “paradise”. This isn’t just your typical college where you dread going to class and can’t wait for the semester to end. This is a place where you can’t wait to be. Every day you wake up with a sense of excitement of what the day might bring. Every week there is a series of events or occurrences which you do not want to miss. Just to name a few: Dodgeball Tournaments, Festivals, Canefest, Homecoming, Video Game Tournaments, Workshops at Toppel, Art Shows, Fashion Shows, Lectures with keynote speakers and much more. Speaking of classrooms, they are not as boring as many of you may think. The professors at this university have a polished knowledge of the subject they are teaching and are always willing to help students who may be struggling.

During my first two weeks I was able to discover that UM had plenty of resources to help me gain more knowledge about what I had to take care of first and foremost as well as being aware of how to get around campus and locate other helpful places that may come in handy throughout my time here. It seems as if this university has everything a student needs to feel ready and confident about what they’re doing and their future student experience. There is the Toppel Career Center which is a great place to get career advisement, to set up a practice interview, to have your resume and cover letter critiqued and to go to different educational workshops that will be extremely beneficial towards your professional future. There is the Office of Financial Assistance that allows students to get information on how to go acquire grants, scholarships, basic FAFSA information and be aware of their tuition and or housing expenses so they can keep track of what is happening. These are just a couple of the resources that are available to students but without going into much detail, here are some of the others that every student should know about: Academic Resource Center, Student Activities, the Wellness Center, Office of Student Employment, the Honors Program and the Office of Academic Enhancement.

Now, let’s jump to the fun activities (not that the previous ones weren’t already mind-blowingly awesome). The first football game at the Sun Life Stadium was something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Whether you tailgate or not, the atmosphere around the stadium is extraordinary. The barbecues, the music, the drinks (being that you are age appropriate) are just a few things that make this event something not to miss. Walking into that stadium, standing in the crowds, cheering for the team with everyone else you could sense that you were now a part of something special, that you were now a Miami Hurricane.

So what does it really mean to be a Hurricane? It’s not simply attending the University of Miami. It’s getting involved in the hundreds of activities that this place has to offer each week. It’s participating in events that will express your personality. It’s communicating with your classmates, peers, teachers and advisors who all have their stories and experiences as former or current Canes. It’s maximizing your knowledge about the campus, resources, and its history. Be a Miami Hurricane by participating in everything you possibly can while showing your spirit and your experience here will stay with you for the rest of your life!