Natalie Ippolito '20
When I was a kid, my family used to vacation on Hills Beach. I was so young then that I later didn't even remember that there was a college campus right there. When I was looking around at different colleges, my mom said to me, “What about the one we used to pass by?” I remember looking into UNE then, but I wanted to go to UMass Lowell because that’s where a lot of my friends were going. Then one day I was hiking with my brother, and he told me that I should challenge myself to go somewhere that none of my friends were going. I took that challenge, and it led me here to UNE.
We have a very different setup than other schools because the Business Department is small compared to the health science majors here. It’s close-knit because of that. All of the professors tailor their classes to the students and what the students want to learn. I think that is the coolest part. Rather than just following a set curriculum, they'll see what the students are interested in and try to engage us more.
Everyone is very friendly here at UNE. When you pass by people, you don't even have to know them, they’ll smile and wave. I think that's really cool. It’s a very welcoming environment, and I really appreciate that. It's very much geared toward getting students involved in different things, and I think that allows for a lot of freedom and opportunity.
I learned a lot about myself from being here at UNE. I remember coming into college…I thought, “Oh, I'm just going to do my classes, study hard, and not do anything aside from that.” I got sucked into the culture, though. There is so much community here. It started with my involvement in [the undergraduate theater club] UNE Players and went from there.
I remember when I first came to UNE, I thought it was pretty, and I liked it here. It was a shallow interpretation of the place. After a few years at UNE, though, I have a much deeper connection. I think that UNE Players helped me feel that way and find my place. I developed friends through participating in the plays.