As graduation nears, many seniors start reflecting on their years at UB – what they have done, what they missed out on, and what they are going to miss the most. Realizing you never took that photography class you promised yourself you would before graduating, or never joining that student club you always found interesting, or never supporting the Purple Knights at a game – all start feeling like missed opportunities. We also think of the many friends we see every day now who are about to disperse all over the globe.

As we look toward the future, let’s take a moment to learn about one of UB’s graduating seniors who happens to be heading to Korea for graduate school. Neely Neverson ’15, an International Political Economy and Diplomacy (IPED) major with a concentration in Asian studies, reflects with us about her years at UB, and how the Neely who is going to graduate in a month from now is not the same shy girl who began at UB four years ago.

1 What Was One Thing That Made You Feel Like UBelonged At UB?

Definitely the teachers and the staff. They understood what I wanted out of my college career and helped me achieve it. I was presented with opportunities and put in contact with people who had previous experience in what I wanted to pursue.

For instance, when I was younger I saw college as the mode for education and traveling abroad. I believed that my undergrad career would not be complete without travel, and the only way I would have that opportunity was to go to college.

So when I decided to go to Japan for a semester, I turned to the Education Abroad Resource Center where Brandon LaFavor, UB’s Overseas Study Coordinator, answered every question or concern I had about studying abroad.
While I might have been able to travel had I gone to a different university, I really believe it would have been more difficult, and I would not have had the support system that helped through all the stages of my travel.

All the UB staff are very nice and always there to help. Throughout my four years here, none have ever made me feel like I was intruding. I want to stay in touch with them even after I graduate. They made me feel like the relationships that I made with them were not just for my four years of college, but that I could always seek them out for anything – that I belong at UB now and always.

2 What Is Something That You Learned While Studying Abroad?

I learned that independence does not mean loneliness. It’s okay to do things on your own and not depend on others. Japan was the first time when I was completely by myself; I could not depend on my mother over there. At first, I stayed with a host family, but I ended up moving onto the campus. There I had to cook my own meals and find my own modes of transportation around campus. It was empowering to see that I could do all of these things for myself. It really helped me feel like I’m ready for anything.

3 What Is Something You Learned On The UB Campus?

The importance of remembering people’s names. It sounds simple, but even if I only met someone once, I learned that it’s a really good thing to register their names in my memory, because they are pleasantly surprised if you remember their name the next time you speak to them. Just knowing a person’s name off the hop can change the relationship you have with him or her. It’s an invaluable people skill, and I know that in my future endeavors it will be something that can help me get far.

4 What Is Something You Regret Not Doing More Of While At UB?

I regret not taking the opportunity to volunteer with ASB (Alternative Spring Break) when I had the chance. One of the years I was here, I had the opportunity to go, but instead I did something else for spring break. I had a horrible time and have always regretted taking that choice instead of doing ASB.

I would have enjoyed knowing that I left a lasting impact on others, had I participated in ASB. To have a physical reminder of the good that you’ve done that you know will last, like building a house, is such an amazing thing. I know that it will become harder to volunteer the older I get, and I just wish that I would have taken all the opportunities while I had them. That is my biggest regret.

5 What Would Your Freshman Self Say About You Now?

“You’re so cool!”

I can’t believe how much I have changed since I came to UB. I used to worry a lot about what others thought of me, but now I am a lot more confident in myself. I am a stronger person who does not worry about what others think. And I think that’s pretty cool!