I’m Michael Henry, and I am currently a junior mechanical engineering major from the Cincinnati, OH area. I remember having a lot on my mind when I was in your shoes only three years ago. Lots of questions spun through my head such as, “Where am I going to college?” “Am I going to get homesick?” “How am I going to keep up with everyone if I go out-of-state?” These are things lots of students think about when they have the option to go out-of-state for college. For some students, they can’t wait to get out and try new things. Others have a desire to stay closer to home. I had mixed feelings on both sides when I was considering UAHuntsville. Growing up, I’d never imagined I would live in the state of Alabama, so coming to UAHuntsville would be an awesome opportunity for me to try new things. At the same time, I loved Ohio! I had a great network of friends and family back home, and leaving that would be difficult. Life’s all about taking chances, because you never know what you’re going to miss out on if you don’t take a chance or two in life.
Coming to UAHuntsville my freshman year, I knew I wanted to get involved on campus and stay busy. I learned through an activity fair of all the different student activities I could get involved in. The first one that caught my eye was Greek Life. In high school, I wanted nothing to do with Greek Life because I knew how it was portrayed on TV and movies, and that was not the life for me. Here at UAHuntsville, Greek Life is different. Greek Life on campus is full of involved and productive students who are working to be the best they can be while making a difference in college. From high academics to lots of philanthropy dollars raised, Greek Life is an impressive organization. The best part about Greek Life, is that it felt like a family away from home. All I did was talk to them and show some interest, and I instantly felt a strong support network, which made the transition from home to college a lot easier. I can honestly say that had I gone to another university, I would have opted out of Greek Life and never had all the experiences I have enjoyed so far. I currently hold leadership positions in my fraternity, and my fraternity brothers have become friends that I know I’ll have for the rest of my life!
I also got involved in many other student life organizations. Within my first couple of weeks on campus I even received a director position on UAHuntsville’s Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE). That job was one of the coolest I’ve ever had! Being on the ACE board, I got to help plan all of the fun, free campus events for students. From comedians to concerts to all sorts of free giveaways, I got to be behind-the-scenes and really see how creative I could make things for students on campus. Recently, I started giving campus tours as a UAHuntsville Student Ambassador. Giving tours to students considering UAHuntsville gives me the opportunity to tell students why I enjoy UAHuntsville, and I get to encourage other out-of-state students to try new things and give schools like UAHuntsville a chance.
Coming down here to Alabama has also given me awesome career opportunities while in college. I began by working two co-op terms at the Mercedes-Benz plant. It was really cool getting to see how some of the nicest cars in the world are made, while also gaining job experience and getting paid for it all! The job also let me know that mechanical engineering was definitely the field for me. I have also worked at Boeing with a team of students revising plane part designs. It’s another one of those experiences that’s pretty cool to have while you’re in college, and it gets you geared up for work in the real world.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of my college experience here at UAHuntsville. Going to an out-of-state school was never something I had planned, but it always seems that the best things in life happen when you least expect it. I still have many more awesome experiences in college to come, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!