Jessica Chatham is UW-Madison alumna who just graduated this past December. In her time on campus, she’s taken thousands of pictures as a photographer, made countless friends, and landed an internship. Jessica’s only been on campus with us for a few semesters, but there’s been a lasting impact – both on the university through Jessica’s fantastic work; and on Jessica, who knows that as long as she’s here on campus, she’ll always be at home.
What drew you to UW-Madison?
For some reason, it felt like home to me. I went to University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for my freshman and sophomore year but during those two years I felt alone. When I would visit UW-Madison I would immediately feel included. On game days, people were out in their yards
grilling, playing catch with a football and talking with their parents and friends. There was an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie that I didn’t feel at the Twin Cities. At UW-Madison there is always something going on; everyone is participating in the community in some way. Everyone is taking care of each other. It’s what it means to be a Badger.
How did you feel after your overall first-year experience?
I loved my first year. From day one at UW-Madison, I felt proud to be a student here. It sounds a little silly, but when I walk to class I always think, “Man, I love it here.” Even though I knew friends that go to UW-Madison, I still was able to make new friends and get involved, even though I didn’t join campus until I was a junior. In my opinion, the community feeling is much stronger here than my previous school.
How did the Transfer Ambassadors help your transition to campus?
They were very helpful and made me feel like I was already a student here. Initially I was nervous that it would take me a long time to fit in, but the Transfer Ambassadors helped me feel secure and reassured me that I would feel at home in no time. They also gave me advice on what clubs would suit me and suggested some activities that I should look into.
Now that you’re on campus, how have you gotten involved?
I am involved with AWC, which is an organization for women in communications. I also am in a magazine class. There are only twenty students, and we produce an entire publication, called Curb. As the photo editor, I got to take photos all over the state, from the prairies of Sauk County to apple orchards right here in Dane County. I’m also on an intramural basketball team, I’ve completed an internship for a non-profit organization, and got involved with the Daily Cardinal by photographing events that occurred on campus.
What do you wish you had known your first semester here?
I wish I had known about all of the organizations on campus and I wish there was more information about internships. As I search for a job, I am realizing the importance of internships. I wish I could be better prepared.
If you’re a UW-Madison transfer and you aren’t currently using our Transfer Transition Program, but would like to, head here. Don’t forget to connect with @UWNewStudent and @UWTransferPeer on Twitter.