Life in North Carolina- not what I expected

Life in North Carolina doesn’t look a lot like I expected it to as I moved here last year. In countless ways my expectations were blown out of the water. I have met such incredible people who I have learned so much from. The classrooms at UNC SSW are full of those with unmatchable intelligence, compassion, and drive. Not only have I learned an astonishing amount about social work practice, but I have also learned a great deal about myself and others.

During my first semester at UNC, I thought that I had made a mistake coming to UNC. I was so overwhelmed with all the demands of being an out-of-state graduate student. I had incredible doubts about my graduate career. However, as I made it out of the month of November, I achieved what I thought I could not do. I finished my first semester at a top graduate school in a field I have been dreaming about being a part of.

As spring semester came into sight, my classmates and I were ready to tackle it and boy did we! We were a stunningly less anxious class who had faith in themselves. Learning was more of a joy. We were able to come together and be real and honest about our desires and concerns. I could not have dreamed of a better environment. I found myself being open to my classmates, who had become a close family away from home. As our last semester came to an end, I found myself with thoughts of actually missing classes.

As I got ready to start my summer, I was in a terrible car accident. I suffered many injuries including traumatic brain injury. I spent 37 days at WakeMed (or my second home 😉 ) and almost every single day there, I had a great friend or faculty member from UNC SSW at my side. I even woke up from a coma with SoWoSo’s there! When I found out how my friends and classmates showed up and stayed in the hospital overnight so I wouldn’t be alone as my parents flew into town, cooked meals for my family, and stayed by my side not knowing what would happen, I was completely overwhelmed. Not only are the students at UNC SSW brilliant and motivated, they are caring individuals with enormous hearts.

So as I was saying, North Carolina life has been surprising challenging, but definitely worth it and leaves me with no regrets. I hope and pray that students who get to live the SSW life take advantage of all it has to offer.


About Katherine Benzaquen

Hi there! I am a second year full time student. I am originally from Miami, Florida. I moved up to NC in August of last year to start the journey of an MSW student. Me and my pup Benny are loving the life in Chapel Hill. In terms of social work interests, my primary focus is supporting military personnel and their families. However, after some recent personal experiences, I am broadening my field to medical social work.
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