Unicycles, Pigs, and Wind Tunnels- Oh My!

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Going away to college was a difficult decision to make. I knew I wanted to go away; I just had an extremely difficult time figuring out the perfect school for me. I had a few requirements: I wanted to be more than two hours away but less than five and a half, it had to be a big school with a great basketball team, it had to have a good animal science program, and I had to receive some scholarships to assist in paying for my tuition. I am paying for college myself, so that last factor was pretty significant. I ended up applying to nine schools. Fortunately, I was accepted into all of them, so I then had to decide which was best for me. I chose the University of Connecticut and once I visited the school, I knew it was a perfect match. From raising a piglet, to unicycles, to walking through a literal wind tunnel, there is a lot about this university that many people do not know about.

When I first arrived at school, I truly did not know what to expect. My hometown of Conklin, New York was very tiny; tiny as in, there were only 135 students in my graduating class. I had never really been off on my own by myself for extended periods of time. The University of Connecticut is a five-hour drive from my home, so it is a trip to make, but definitely worth it. I do not get to go home unless there are breaks, but I still talk to my parents nearly every day. I love it here, and coming here was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I would like to start off with explaining something that many people who attend this university do not even know about. If you are an animal science major, you have to take an introductory animal science course. In this course, you are required to participate in Little International for 40% of your grade. Little International, or Little I, is where students are assigned an animal that they have to train, and then show, like in 4-H. The types of animals include pigs, dairy cattle, beef cattle, chickens, horses, and sheep. It is a raffle which animal you get, and I ended up getting a pig. I had to hike to the barns four or five times a week to train him, which is about a mile and a half walk. I had to train him to walk by my side with the use of a cane. When I first met him, I named him Stratus. He was only about fifty pounds, but he was huge by the time training was over. He had one blue eye and one brown eye, so he was certainly the prettiest of all the pigs. When it came time to show him, Stratus and I did not place. I spent about two months training him, and the second we got into the ring, he ran all over and decided to run right into the judge’s legs. Sadly, the pigs were sold the next day, so I was not able to visit Stratus after that last day. In conclusion, the animal science program at the University of Connecticut is extremely hands-on, and not many people know that we actually interact with the farm animals on campus ever day. I ended up changing my major, but I will never forget that amazing experience.

Another unknown fact is the University of Connecticut is built like a wind tunnel. Literally. The majority of the campus was modeled after the University of Texas to be a wind tunnel in order to decrease the humidity. However, UConn is located in frigid New England, not Texas. So, during the winter, there is A LOT of windburn on your face and all over if you do not cover yourself from head to toe. I have never experienced such freezing temperatures- that darn wind.

Unknown fact #3- there is a part of the campus called the Depot Campus. It used to be used for puppetry majors, but not is not used a lot, besides to park cars. Prior to being a part of the campus, there was an insane asylum there. Oh, and rumor has it, it is very haunted. I have driven by it, and every time I do, I get the chills. It is extremely creepy.

One of the awesome things about the University of Connecticut is that all the buildings are always unlocked. Want to study in Gampel Pavilion, where the men and women’s basketball teams have claimed several NCAA basketball championships?There are plenty of ways to get in if the front doors or unlocked secret hallways everywhere. Also, Wilbur Cross, debatably the prettiest building on campus, is unlocked frequently. It is a great place to study at two in the morning during finals week when Homer Babbidge library is booked to full capacity. Something I saw for the first time when I came to school were unicyclists. They are everywhere on campus. Even when there is ice and snow all around, they are still unicycling around. To each their own, I guess. They must have built up some pretty amazing core strength, though. The hover boards made a brief introduction to campus. I saw many of those, too. Then, the Campus banned them because apparently they were exploding in dorm rooms.

There are many more things people do not know about the University of Connecticut. It is a pretty amazing school, I must admit. I feel honored to attend this university, and I will always look at it in a positive light. Just remember, if you ever want to learn how to train a pig, the key to success is to feed the pig apple slices as treats. Not Fruit Loops. They do not like Fruit Loops very much.


-Katarina Stockton, University of Connecticut