Anne Arundel Hall

Revisiting My University | Fear the Turtle!

Few weeks ago, after my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam, my boyfriend and I decided to go visit our old stomping ground: University of Maryland.  I attended the university for 6 years, getting my bachelor’s and my master’s, and he was there for 4 years, getting his bachelors.  While we had very different experiences (he was in engineering, and I was in education), in the end, we both ended up in pretty similar place (realms of systems engineering).

Jim Henson and Kermit

Jim Henson and Kermit statue

Of course, the first thing I had to do was to say hi to Jim Henson and Kermit.  Little known fact is that the founder of Muppets is an alumni of UMD.

Even though they tried to fail him because “Puppetry is not a real major!” they have statues of them.

Stamp Student Union

Stamp Student Union

Kermit and Jim live right outside of our Student Union.  So we spent a little while exploring the student union to see if anything had changed.

Of course, they were still selling overpriced textbooks, and Chick-fil-a, McDonalds, and Panda Express were teeming with teenagers, so really, not much had changed.

University of Maryland Moleskine

I did score a discounted University of Maryland branded Moleskine (and it’s grid-lined!), so that was exciting.  I’ve been hunting for one for a while, but as most Moleskines go, the price was never right.

Honors College

Anne Arundel Hall

Little-known fact is that my boyfriend and I met for the first time on the first day of freshman year of college (10 years ago?!), because we were both part of the Honors College.  We didn’t start dating until 2 years ago, though.

Being a part of a college that was 4000 students instead of 39,000 made the overwhelming experience of starting at a large state school a little more bearable.

I made most of my friends in the first few years as part of the Honors College, because they hosted a lot of social events like Ice Cream Socials and Honors Seminars where they use chairs covers for the decoration of these events, and also had specific dorms for Honors College students.  With air conditioning (I know, so classist).

My dorm (in the photo) is the “head quarters” for the honors college, so a lot of events were happening in the lobby or the basement.

Maryland Dairy

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

At University of Maryland, we have a farm.  They make the best ice cream ever that they can’t “officially” sell because the fat content is too high.

My favorite back when I was a student was Mint Chocolate Chip, so I got a scoop of that!

Maryland Dairy

Before, we had to go to one of the convenience stores that magically had it, or get it at the dining halls, but we found that the Maryland Dairy had opened shop in the Student Union! Kids these days have it too easy!

I even had a seizure here…

McKeldin Library

This poor library was the site of my 2nd grand mal seizure… in front of hundreds of other students studying for their midterms! What a memory!

Very different world


All in all, it was a disgustingly hot and humid day, but I’m glad we gave it a visit. It was interesting to feel how SMALL the university campus felt. Back then, it was our whole world, and HUGE.  Now, coming back, it was so small…

When I left university in 2014 with my Master’s of Education in Special Education degree, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, didn’t have a career path and had no idea what the future holds for me.

I just knew that I’d booked myself a one-way ticket to New York City, and for half a year, I was going to try to see what I can carve out for myself.  I had a backpack, duffel bag, suit case, and a pillow to start my new life.

Four years later, I have been able to embrace a tremendous number of opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, and have a very exciting start to a career in tech.

If you’d asked me in 2014 if I thought I might be working in tech as an engineer, I would’ve laughed. There’s absolutely no way!

Really comes to show you don’t know what’s going to happen until you take that first step!

If it fits, I sits…

By the way, this was me, the night before the exam:

If it fits I sits

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

2 thoughts on “Revisiting My University | Fear the Turtle!”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this and getting to see bits of your old University. I bet it was weird going back and recalling all the memories you had during your time there, I know I have this when I go back home and pass my university (I know I just graduated but it feels like years ago since I attended hahaha!!) Haha, I totally feel you with Maryland opening up in your students union!! Luckily, two years into university, shops started flooding my SU so now it’s full of amazing places to eat and drink (I did a tour, in fact ;))

    Your journey continues to amaze me! You truly do not know where you’ll end up in the future, it’s crazy!!

  2. They actually tried to fail Jim Henson. Man, I love the Muppets!

    I would love to visit my old university. My sister recently went off to start uni and it made me so nostalgic when we dropped her off there! It’s amazing how far you’ve come – life twists and turns in the most unexpected ways!

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