Why I became a Gopher...
Well, this is going to be a lengthy entry, because my road to the University of Minnesota was a long one. As I mentioned in my introductory entry, I play ice hockey for the University of Minnesota Women's Team. Depending on where you are from, or what your background is, you may be unfamiliar with the college sports scene in the United States. To put it simply, Division I college sports in the United States are a very big deal. Many college sports teams are glorified to the same point as professional sports teams. As such coaches will travel around the world to seek out their players and then recruit them and try to get them to come to the University of Minnesota to play for their team. This is how my exposure to the U of M began....
In the summer before my last year of high school I was recruited by a bunch of different universities who wanted me to come play on their ice hockey teams. They would call me as often as once a week to talk to me about all that their school and hockey program had to offer, and therefore a large part of my summer was spent talking to coaches at various colleges and trying to figure out where I wanted to go. I narrowed my options down to five schools in the United States, and the University of Minnesota was one of them. Part of the recruiting process in collegiate athletics, involves taking all expenses paid fly-downs to no more than five of the schools that are recruiting you. In these on-campus visits I met many people, saw all the facilities on the campuses and basically just got a feel for the campus and how I would fit in. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit the campus, and would reccommend that to anyone who has the option. I got a feeling about this campus here at the University of Minnesota, a feeling that just reassured me that I could be at home here, and it still amazes me today how accurate that feeling was. Anyway, I looked at many different schools in the United States along with many that were closer to home for me in Canada, and there were a few very important things about the University of Minnesota that put it above the rest.
1. The hockey team: Hockey is and always has been a big part of my life, and if I were to go to a school in the United States I would be going on an athletic scholarship and would therefore be dedicating almost all of my free time to hockey. Therefore, the personalities of the players on the team, and the coaching staff were very important. The women's ice hockey team was one of the best in the country, and potentially the best collegiate women's hockey team in the world at that point, and the people were phenomenal. I wanted to be a part of a team that did well on the ice and in the classroom and also one that conducted itself with class. All of these things I found at the University of Minnesota.
2. The Carlson School of Management: as a business major, I was thoroughly impressed by the reputation of the University of Minnesota's business school. The Carlson School of Management is one of the best in the country, and to have the opportunity to study there was something that I knew would truly benefit my future.
3. The Campus: The University of Minnesota has some of the best athletic facilities in the country, as well as very great housing options, limitless computer and library access, as well as very accessible bus systems to help students get around campus. Like I said, I just got a feeling from the campus - I knew it was right for me.
All in all, when I look back on how I made my choice to become a Golden Gopher at the University of Minnesota, I see the importance of having talked to people who already went there, or having researched the academic reputation of the schools i was looking at. Truly though, when deciding where you want to go, you have to first figure out what you are looking for so that you can evaluate a school based on how it fulfills what you want and need - and whether it feels like home to you!
I have been at the University of Minnesota for four years now. I have had some highs and lows as a Golden Gopher and can count many times where I have had to ask myself whether I made the right decision all those years ago to become a student at the University of Minnesota. Truth be told, I have never once had a regret, and I am thankfull every day that I found the place for me - my only wish is that you are all able to do the same.