Manta Ray to Cornhusker


Julia Cartwright was the first out of seven Cartwright’s to graduate Marco Island Academy and leave for college. From being 1 of 240 students, to being one of 26,000 students, is a significant change. Other changes include: going from living two miles from home to 1,629 miles from home, knowing each student to knowing only one other student, and living in a year-round warm and sunny climate to extremes of all four seasons. After 4 months of her leaving for college, Julia returned home for Thanksgiving and provided insight into many questions…

Julia is majoring in Elementary Education at the University of Nebraska. Next semester she is taking a practicum, which means she gets to be in a classroom with kids! So far, she loves the college and says that it is definitely a different atmosphere, but is a positive change. “I would definitely say the biggest difference is in size.” Says Julia, “Obviously there are only a few hundred students at MIA, and my freshman class alone is 8,000 people. There are so many different people to meet, you can walk around campus and not recognize anybody. After always being around people I knew my whole life, this was definitely different.”

The college classes are a degree more difficult than the highschool level, but she is enjoying them. Julia prefers her smaller classes, because it’s easier to make friends, over the larger classes. Though, she said each of her professors has their own unique way of teaching to make each of her classes interesting.

Obviously there are drastic changes in the weather patterns compared to Nebraska and Florida. Being a true Floridian, it probably took some time to get used to, but so far, Julia is actually really enjoying the weather. “On Halloween, I walked out of my class and it was snowing! I was freaking out while everyone else was just casually walking. There was one day I had to scrape ice off of my windshield, and I wasn’t a huge fan of that either”, stated Julia. The adjustment in clothing, such as wearing gloves daily, has been something to get used to, also.

Leaving friends is never easy, but Julia has made new friends and met new people by simply just going to social events organized by the university. She has started developing relationships with people from her classes, resulting in friendships. Julia says, “Every friend you make introduces you to more and more people, so it’s kind of a chain effect!”

While weather and friends were part of the adjustment, leaving her family has been the hardest adjustment of all. “I love them so much. I miss being around them everyday, a lot”, said Julia. Fortunately, for Julia, there are many extended family members nearby in Nebraska for her.

MIA’s dual enrollment program has definitely helped prepare her for college life, helping her better understand how they function. Julia states, “Even though I only took one dual enrollment class, it was like a trial class that helped me understand what college would be like and if it was for me.”

Julia was also part of the MIA girl’s varsity soccer team, and said she also learned valuable lessons about perseverance, teamwork, and the hard work ethic that she applies in her real life. Julia’s last words to us were that of advice on MIA life, saying, “Say yes to doing things outside of your comfort zone, go to all of the school social events and you’ll meet so many different types of people.”

University of Nebraska has definitely been a great choice for Julia.  She describes the campus as a supportive environment with the best school spirit. Between the classes, the teaching staff, and advice from Julia, MIA students can be reassured in the next big step that lies ahead!