A Class of 2021 Reflection: Maria del Mar Jaramillo

We ask Maria del Mar Jaramillo from NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2021 to reflect on her college journey, and she shares with us the friendships formed, how she’s grown, and her favorite NYUAD memories. 

Name: Maria del Mar Jaramillo
Major: Computer Science
Country: Colombia

Maria del Mar Jaramillo, NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2021.

For your friendships formed during university, what has surprised you most about them? 

When I first arrived on campus, I was really nervous about making friends. I felt intimidated by how accomplished everyone was, and I was scared of not fitting into what I assumed others wanted to see. Throughout the years, I began to notice the more I try to be myself, the stronger my friendships were formed. Authenticity and vulnerability are the best ways to get to know others and myself.

How has NYUAD helped shape who you are today?

During my first semester, I was extremely impressed with the seniors being offered roles at huge companies. My mind began exploring a million possibilities for my future, and I set high goals for my next three years. 

However, the following three years showed me a different definition of success. I noticed how much impact I had working at smaller companies, which inevitably helped reshape my goals to better fit my passions. I no longer aim for prestige or a big name, but rather a job in which I feel fulfilled, impactful, and secure.

What are some of your favorite memories of being an NYUAD student?

One of my favorite memories was the few days between the end of J-Term and the start of the semester. Together with a friend whom I had barely spent any time with, we compulsively bought airplane tickets to Sri Lanka, where we embarked on a three-day adventure that included going to the hospital after getting stung by sea urchins. 

Before this trip, I had envisioned my semester going in a particular direction. But as per usual, life takes unexpected turns. I learned that every year will bring constant change and growth into my life.

Whether I spend my Thursday nights blasting Dua Lipa with my friends, or falling asleep to a Netflix show, each semester brings its own unique sense of happiness. We must keep our minds open to change and embrace the ride.

Maria del Mar Jaramillo, NYUAD Class of 2021

How has senior year been?

I spent the first half of my senior year back home in Colombia where I reconnected with my family. Ever since I left home for college, my family and I rarely spend enough time together to be able to observe my personal growth. My family expected me to be the same person I was when I left home three years ago. As I pride myself on being honest and authentic, I decided to completely be myself around them. By the end of that semester, my family admitted how shocked they were at how much I had changed — they loved how much I have grown and how our relationship had become stronger as a result.