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Capturing CT Magic: CampusCT from a Connecticut Student

by Jenna Ranney, Product Specialist

Over the last few weeks, UpperCampus has embarked on an exciting new partnership with AdvanceCT, a nonprofit that is engaging Connecticut students and promoting career opportunities with top companies statewide. This incredible group has matched our enthusiasm in providing students with the tools they need to build meaningful, rewarding, and successful careers. Together, we can forge critical connections between Connecticut students and employers, and the opportunities for career development are truly inspiring.

Obviously, all of us at UpperCampus are thrilled to take part in this new initiative. It’s amazing to see our mission in motion and to work with the teams - both from AdvanceCT and our new partner companies and universities - that are as passionate about the project as we are.

Personally, however, I feel a particular connection to this project. I am a Connecticut student myself, and as I look around at my peers on campus this semester, I am brimming with excitement about what initiatives like this could mean for all of us. Our CampusCT project means building out digital content and resources to connect students with everything Connecticut has to offer - recreational activities, educational experiences, and - of course - professional opportunities. I’ve been creating and developing exciting content for UpperCampus for over two years now, but never before have I felt so deeply connected to the stories that I’m publishing.

I can’t begin to express what this project means to me. I struggled a lot with homesickness during my first year at school, and the COVID-19 pandemic made my second year more isolation than adventure. I definitely know how it feels to look around at your college town and feel like a bit of a stranger. CampusCT is my opportunity to help make sure that other students don’t have to feel that way too.

From the beach I run to twice a week to the farmer’s market I discovered on my first weekend at school, this new project involves all of my favorite parts of living in Connecticut. I was so excited to have the chance to share all the awesome sights, events, restaurants, and trails that I love. It didn’t feel like work at all - more like flipping through a photo album or sharing a cherished memory. It’s been such an amazing opportunity to share my favorite CT memories with the world. I feel so lucky to be able to help other students find these hidden treasures in our community, ones that can hopefully help college students feel a bit more at home in a new space.

What I didn’t expect, however, was how much I would learn in this process myself. After two full years here, I didn’t really think there was too much more to discover. Still, I never knew that my favorite beach hosted annual Fourth of July Fireworks, or that there are orchards within driving distance of my campus with awesome fall events!

I’ve even found some incredible professional opportunities for myself as well. I knew about Yale New Haven Hospitals from my past clinicals, but it was awesome to explore so much information about the places I’ll be learning and working in for the next two years (and hopefully more after graduation!). I also found out about Americares, a nonprofit health organization with some awesome careers & a summer internship that I’m looking into. They even take healthcare volunteers at a whole bunch of different clinic sites - one of which is right next door in Bridgeport! I’m already looking into how I can get involved there during the school year.

Our new CampusCT project has given me the opportunity to bring my work back to school with me this year, and I am more than ready to shine the spotlight on everything I love about my home-away-from-home in CT. I’m doing my best to capture the magic of Connecticut’s history and all the exciting opportunities happening now to show students just like me the kind of future we could build here!

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