My first college experience was at a large university in Salt Lake City, Utah. I knew I wanted to major in Biology, but soon found out that most people in my classes were pre-med. This meant that all of my classes had an emphasis on human biology, and sort of skimmed past the animals. My classes had hundreds of people in them, and we were encouraged not to ask questions in class, but to write them down and they would be addressed in lab on Thursdays. This atmosphere led to my only going to class on test days, and you can guess how my grades were.
I had always dreamed of moving to Alaska, and was going to make the move after I graduated from college. It was looking like that might not happen. I decided to find a school in Alaska, and kill two birds with one stone. I found UAS. My first class was Biology 105. There were just over fifty people, and it was considered huge. All of my upper division courses had twenty people or fewer. I was encouraged to ask questions. I was given opportunities to be involved with outdoor research projects. I learned about animals, not just humans.
I am now working on getting my Masters of Arts in Secondary Education. Since moving to Alaska I have been a deckhand on a fishing boat, been a kayak guide, hiked on the glacier, took a float plane to go fly fishing, but most importantly I got a quality education in a subject that is relevant to the world around me. UAS provided the environment that was necessary for me to succeed as a student.