Stories from strangers: Why I left UAA

Hayley Maw, a former student shares her story of leaving UAA and what came after.

Hayley Maw is from Kenai, Alaska and attended UAA on a track scholarship from 2019 to 2021. Photo by Carlee Christensen.

This article was transcribed and edited from an audio interview. Portions have been omitted for style and readability.

I don’t really regret not continuing my education at UAA. Sometimes I’ll think that it would have been nice to stay there for school. I would’ve had my track scholarship still if I stayed. But my second year at UAA wasn’t going too well because of COVID, and all my classes went online. 

And I wasn’t enjoying it, like at all. It was not for me, and it was causing me to be depressed — I don’t know… I enjoyed it. They have good classes, good professors, but I just needed to get out of Alaska and try something new.

When I left UAA, I decided that I wanted to get out of Alaska because I’ve been here my entire life. So, I decided to go to Utah because my best friend was going to move there. So, I went with her, and we lived together. I decided I was going to save up money for college and just work while I was in Utah. Then after probably a year, I would go to school in Utah at Utah Valley University.

In Utah, I had two jobs. I worked as a receptionist at a pet hospital and another job.

Ever since I was five, I wanted to be a veterinarian. My dad used to read to me and my sister every night when we were younger and there was this one book that I just absolutely adored. It was an animal book, and it had a bunch of different animals from around the world. It would tell you like the name of the animal, their special qualities, and I just loved hearing everything and anything about animals.

Then after going to college for a year or two and then not being in college for about two years, I’ve been really thinking about the school I would have to go through to become a veterinarian. It would be about six to eight years of school, and it’s just a lot. So, I came up with a second option of being a wildlife biologist because I eventually want to live in Alaska, and wildlife biologists actually make the most money in Alaska. I thought it was a cool job and I would only need a masters. I don’t know. That’s kind of what I’m thinking right now. Either a veterinarian or a wildlife biologist.

After a while, I realized that Utah was not the place for me. Utah is fun, there were a lot of activities, lots of places to go and really good food, but I didn’t have a lot of friends and I’m not a very social person, and there were just a lot of people.

So, I decided to leave Utah and come back home to Alaska and recoup a little bit because my money saving didn’t go very well. My rent was very expensive in Utah, and I ended up having to pay for a lot of things. It was not going well.

So, I came back to Alaska, hoping to actually save money this time and to be home with my family. I also just wanted to be in Alaska because I love Alaska, I really do. But now my hopes are to go to Brigham Young University-Idaho with my sister when she gets back from her mission.

There’s been times when I don’t want to go back to school because it’s expensive and so much of your time, and there’s so many jobs out there that you really don’t need to go to school for. Sometimes I’ll think, “I’ll just not go to school, and I won’t have to stress myself out by paying for school and doing all the classes.” But in the end, I know that school is something I need to do.

No items found.