Victoria Budesa & Juliet Furst: Sharing Their First Year

Victoria and JulietFreshman Victoria Budesa and Juliet Furst came to UNCG to take on new experiences. During their second semester they both signed up for the Your First Year Photo Challenge, sponsored by the Office of New Student and Spartan Family Programs. Through this photo blog (http://yourfirstyear.uncg.edu/yfy-photo-challenge/) you can get a first-hand look at their first-year lives.

Victoria was born and raised in New Jersey, so her first year was filled with both the challenges and the excitement of living far from home. She is a special and elementary education major and dance minor. During her first year at UNCG she worked for Campus Recreation, participated in the First Year Summer Read committee, and will be working as a Peer Academic Leader in the fall.

Juliet is from Wilmington, NC, and is in the studio art program. Her focus is on photography, which made participating in the photo challenge a natural fit. She is in the Lloyd International Honors College and is involved in UNCG’s chapter of Wine to Water, the Coraddi arts and literature magazine, and Campus Outreach.

The two never met until they were both chosen for the photo challenge, but in the past semester they’ve become fast friends. Together and separately they’ve been exploring what campus has to offer.

“Seeing how many events are available to us on campus – that’s been amazing to me,” said Juliet. “Even though some of them may not be in my major, I find that I’m welcome at activities like foreign film screenings, poetry readings, cultural festivals, and debates. College has provided me with endless learning opportunities, ones that exist far beyond just the classroom.”

“Even though this campus is big, you can make it small if you choose to,” said Victoria. “You’re lucky to have professors to talk to, and who you can go over ideas with. People are so friendly – it’s definitely such a welcoming campus. Everyone comes together for different things, as there’s such integration in classes of people with different majors sharing different experiences.”

They’ve discovered favorite spots on campus. Victoria enjoys setting up a hammock on the Quad while Juliet loves Peabody Park. When it’s warm,Juliet likes to sit with her sketchbook on the lawn outside Moran Commons and “sketch the bustle” while Victoria enjoys discovering life in the south.

With their first year behind them, Victoria and Juliet are looking at what they want to do with their remaining time at UNCG. They know their time at UNCG will pass quickly, but they’re determined to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. Both expect to pursue leadership training and experiences.

Juliet plans to attend another service trip led by Housing and Residence Life in the fall. “I’ve learned how we as young people can play a significant role in making change; how we can offer our brains and our ideas to the community. I want to use art as a means of service.” She also hopes to study abroad in Florence in 2015.

Victoria looks forward to starting her teacher education classes and spending time working in local schools. She also hopes to take on an leadership role on campus. She’ll be starting her work as a Peer Academic Leader in the fall, an opportunity she is excited to be a part of. “I like that it’s a way to help others ease in. I know where they are coming from, and can encourage them to just keep trying and to give up.”

Victoria and Juliet find that they bump into each other across campus all the time now, and they enjoy making plans to just hang out or get lunch. Victoria hopes that Juliet can help her learn more about photography, and Juliet wants to enter Victoria’s world in Campus Recreation by taking one of the Outdoor Adventure trips. They both agree that one of the best things about participating in the photo challenge is that they met each other, and they look forward to being life-long friends.