2016 had the perfect start – a new semester, new program and definitely a lot of excitement. I am a First Year graduate student here at UNI and just when the semester kick started, my life took an unexpected turn. Two weeks into the semester, I received a stress call from my mother saying that we were going to lose my grandma, our most precious family member, the backbone that held us together. Holding on to the 20% chance of survival that was given by the doctors, I had to take an emergency leave from everything I had worked so hard to achieve. Ten days later, I lost her. I was crushed into pieces, unable to cope with the loss, and all my school assignments were piling up during my time in Malaysia. I spent 21 days at home, just being with my family, making decisions about my program at UNI – even deciding if I should withdraw the semester. To me, I felt my whole world had crumbled down.
With all the stress that was building up, I then decided to contact my professors regarding the whole issue. To my genuine surprise, all three of my professors were willing to work with me, giving me all the time I needed to complete my assignments without penalty. No points were taken off, no grudges were held against me for all the delayed work. In fact, one-on-one study sessions were held, in order for me to catch up with everything I had missed. The faculty, staff and my friends here at UNI reached out to me immediately once I came back to Cedar Falls.
The compassion and understanding are both something students like me yearned for, especially thousands of miles away from home. These acts of kindness that I am able to receive from such a great organization is what had kept me going. The faculty here makes you feel that you matter so much to them, and it makes everything worthwhile. They have proven to me that they would go that extra mile to motivate each and every student, ensuring our educational goals here at UNI are achieved. Here I am today, four weeks away from completing my first post-graduate semester at this amazing university. UNI is family. UNI is truly a place where U ‘N’ I belong.
- Danusha Manohar, Industrial Mathematics (PSM)