My name is Julianna Jurkiewicz, and I am a third-year student double majoring in International
Affairs and Economics while studying for a Certificate in Legal Studies. Luckily, when I applied to
college, I only applied to UGA and was admitted! This saved me a lot of emotional and mental
stress as my senior year of high school came to a fashionable COVID-style close, and the
daunting thought of college decisions was past me. I thought I was beyond ready to leave my
home in New York and experience the culture shock everybody told me about. Fast forward to
2022, when it is safe to say life took many unexpected turns!

SPIA became my home within UGA at the start of my second semester when I switched majors. I
took the Intro to International Relations class in Fall 2020 and fell in love with everything SPIA
had to offer, educationally and socially. Being an I.A. major, I have had the opportunity to climb
the class CRN ladder with many of the same peers from freshman year. From Dr. Carmichael to
Dr. Powers, each professor has shown how much the world has to teach us while we
subconsciously mold history every day. Now, this might sound like butterflies and rainbows, but
there has not been an easy step taken. With challenging academic papers and peers with wildly
different opinions, my biggest culture shock has undoubtedly come from my time in the
classroom. I have had the opportunity to battle with my personal beliefs as I had never imagined.
Nevertheless, SPIA and UGA have been the support systems for this academic struggle the
whole way through.

The culture at UGA is intimidating since almost 50% of the student body comes from within
Georgia. This is expected, as it is the most outstanding university ever to grace this Earth, but it
can deter people from joining the crowd. After four semesters, I can confirm that coming to UGA
was the best, most frightening decision I have ever made. You feel like a fish out of water, not
knowing where the hidden spots around Athens are and what greek letters run down Milledge.
SPIA is why I am doing so well in my home away from home. There is a peer-professor-friend
relationship triangle that has allowed me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As the school
that brings the outside world a little closer, it is undoubtedly the best place for an out-of-state
student like myself. I would encourage anyone to take an introductory SPIA course because you
never know; it just might shift your trajectory!