In preparation for the beginning of their UMass Dartmouth journey, first-year students completed their first college writing assignment by participating in the This We Believe blog. Students were invited to post essays about their life experiences to share with their peers. This opportunity allowed new students to reflect on what they care about, what they can learn from one another, and join the conversation about student life at UMassD.
Students also had the opportunity to submit their essays to the This We Believe essay contest, managed by the Office of the Provost. This year’s winners were:
First place – “Becoming Who You Want to Be” by incoming nursing student Abigail Soares of Taunton, Mass. Soares wrote about losing her mother to addiction, raising her siblings while finishing high school, and how these experiences set her on a path to help people as a future medical professional. “I know I can’t change the past or my mother’s decisions, but I hope to change the lives of others who still have a future ahead of them,” wrote Soares.
Second place –“Control” by Zoe Diana Plante from Mansfield, Mass. Plante, who will be studying chemistry, discussed how exiting a controlling relationship allowed her to grow and find herself. “Falling in love with someone else is so much easier than falling in love with yourself. I am still trying to accept myself. To own my imperfections and flaws instead of trying to change my appearance for another person,” said Plante.
Third place – “Reminiscent” by Michelle Ciaramella from Raynham, Mass., who shared her story of accepting her new stepfamily and how their support changed her life and her concept of family. “Family has a different meaning to each person who hears the word. Family is not only blood, it is a bond,” wrote Ciaramella.
The This We Believe blog received more than 21,000 views and 900 comments from 27 countries.