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Hello, my name is Samantha Signorella (but you can call me Sam), and I am a Civil Engineering Major. This is my second year at UCF. I am originally from Naperville, Illinois (which is roughly 40 minutes west of Chicago), and I graduated from Naperville Central High School in May of 2023. One of my favorite classes at UCF was English Composition. Yes, that sounds weird coming from an Engineering major, but my professor (Dr. Nancy Marshall) was seriously the kindest ever! She always brought snacks to class, and genuinely cared about our well-being. She would often ask about our day, and even watch some movie clips in class with us. I enjoy writing as it is a break from all the math I must do for my major. If you need to take English Comp 1 and or 2 for your GEP’s, I highly recommend her. As far as STEM related courses, those are challenging for me compared to writing, and that is why I love them! I knew with so many STEM courses ranging from Chemistry Fundamentals beginning my freshman year, to Structural Analysis way far into my junior year, I would need support and encouragement to make it through. There is a difference between surviving through college, and thriving through college, and what makes the difference is community! GEMS is a compassionate group of women who have your back throughout your time here at UCF. They offer opportunities to make friends who share your classes or major, to day-to-day advice from what professor to take, when to take this class, how to study for an exam, or even how to emotionally succeed during the struggles of a hard semester. Outside of my classes, I love to go to Cru (which is a Christian Club at UCF), go to the gym, dance, be out in the sun, and explore with my friends.

My piece of advice for any freshmen here at UCF: You do not have to be the best to be your best. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others is the moment you allow yourself to breathe, reset, and learn things your unique way.