Posted by: Katie | June 10, 2012

Campus Life in Tampa

Sarah (on right) was a former roommate while I studied at UT. She was such a great person – and we both had the same major (Marine Science) – but it understandably was too much to handle. Here, she shares her stories and experience of living on campus in Tampa; it was a challenge and I give credit to Sarah for taking on such a change in her life – even I had struggles with the usual Tampa lifestyle.

1. How did your interest in Marine Biology begin? How did you decide on a university in Tampa?

I was really always interested in the ocean;  it seemed like this mysterious thing that I had never seen and didn’t know much about.  One summer my family decided to vacation to Florida and I instantly fell in love! We went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I was really interested in the work they did with dolphins and sea turtles and I decided Marine Biology was a career path I would like to pursue.  Even though it didn’t work out, I still love to learn about marine life and it will always be a passion of mine.  I chose UT simply because I knew the area, I had been there a few times with family and I knew they had an excellent Marine Bio program.

2. What makes Clearwater Aquarium so special for you?

I have always been interested in animals, I was one of those kids who would drag baby birds home who fell out of their nest! So I have always had a special place in my heart for animals in need.  Clearwater Marine Aquarium is focused more on helping animals in need rather than tourism or making a profit and I can really respect that.

3. Were you nervous about starting school so far from home and how did you deal with those nerves?

I was VERY nervous! I was excited to be going to Florida, and it was a place I really wanted to be.  I talked to friends at home a lot and, in the end, I couldn’t deal with it and I went home.  It was really hard to be away from everything you’ve ever known.  I did things like go to the beach and the mall, but in the end it was too much to handle.

4. What were your expectations of the university and how were these met/not met?

I expected to university to be quite a bit bigger than it was.  I was coming from a high school of about 20 people, my graduating class being 6 of that 20 so I was expecting a university to really blow my mind, but it wasn’t really what I expected.  It didn’t take to long to get to know all my classmates and professors.

5. Could you briefly explain our suitemates and some of the crazy things they did?

Oh yes, they were nuts! Well, over the course of the semester there were many, many bathroom catastrophes! Like the first night when they put kitty litter in all my stuff! That still shocks me! And then there was the drunken knocks on the door at two in the morning! I would say the best moment of all would be when they came in the room and tried getting in bed with you! I don’t know if she was drunk or sleep walking or what, but that was hilarious! I remember it was about 2:00 am, and our bathroom door was really squeaky so when I heard it open I just thought you were going in there. (our rooms were connected but a joint bathroom) Then for some reason I looked up and saw her standing over your bed! The look on your face was priceless! We were both like uhhhhh…. then you said, “Um I think you have the wrong room.” but she pulled your covers back and hoped in bed with you, HA! Then you got up and walked her to her room! lol After that we came up with creative ways to block the door!

6. What intrigues you about Twilight series and which book/movie is your favorite – and why?

I love them all! but I would have to say book 3, eclipse is my favorite, also the eclipse movie is my favorite so far.  I don’t really know why I like them so much, I guess because even though it is fantasy, its still very easy to relate to.  Also it was really fun to choose between Edward and Jacob and debate with friends! The twilight series really sparked an interest in reading for me, and now I can’t get enough!

7. How did you deal with the struggle of the “teacher from hell” and that class? Most everyone flunked – what was the class?

I don’t remember the exact statistic but it was something like 60% of the students got below a C.  I think they class was intro to marine biology.  That lady was crazy! It was a 2hr class and we averaged 15 pages of notebook paper front and back of notes a class! She went super fast and we got through about 80 power point slides a day! We also had a 3 hr lab with this class, and while I like that better it was still crazy hard! She said this class would weed out those who would not do well in a marine bio field, and she was right! I finally made a friend in that class and we would study daily for hours! It was in this class that I finally learned the importance of rate my!

8. You transferred out of Tampa and just graduated from an Illinois university. What was your major and how much satisfaction has graduation given you?

When I transferred back home I attended Illinois State University, and I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  I love my field! while I still love animals I am also really interested in helping people with their problems.  I love the options that are open to me and it really seems like I can take this career anywhere!

 9. What do you hope for in the future (near or far)?  

Currently I am working as a daycare teacher, I have worked at this daycare on and off for about 8 years and I love it there! I hope to become to director when the current one retires, and I am next in line for the position.  I have been accepted at Concordia Wisconsin to work on my masters in psychology online, and my dream for the distant future would be to obtain my doctorate and open my own practice in professional counseling!



  1. I love it! Thanks Katie, I feel famous lol!

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