Sunday, April 11, 2021

Assefa finds community in Plattsburgh

English writing arts major Hanna Assefa hails from over 6,000 miles away, far from the snow and cold of the North Country. Although she said she enjoys being in Plattsburgh, that wasn’t always the case.

Raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Assefa’s journey has been a long one. She visited the U.S. when she was 15, and decided to take the plunge at SUNY Plattsburgh when she was 18.

Assefa decided to come to pursue higher education at Plattsburgh State because of its small class size and because it was far away from everything she knew.

“I won’t be just another name in the crowd,” Assefa said.

Assefa also said she liked the variety of majors offered at SUNY Plattsburgh because she wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in. She struggled with being far away from home in a completely different place, but grew through the struggle with a positive and grounded mindset.

“Even if I was far away from home, people are inherently the same,” Assefa said. “We all want the same things. We want to be accepted, we want to be heard, we all want to be seen and loved.”

Assefa is familiar with Plattsburgh life outside of campus. She has volunteered at various businesses around town like the Strand Theater and the North Country Food Co-Op. She said she enjoys Plattsburgh’s small-town charm and how easy it is to get a conversation going with complete strangers.

“It has a charm. I couldn’t see it at first because I was so cold,” Assefa said with a laugh.

Assefa also enjoys writing in her spare time and self-publishes through her own self-designed website. She doesn’t call it blogging, as it’s more focused on specific topics than a typical blog. She hopes to one day put her writing to good use after she’s done with her undergraduate degree.

Although Assefa is currently unsure of any specific plans after graduation, she’s sure that she wants to employ her creative mind in one way or another.

She is currently looking for jobs, but wants to take a year-long break and get some life experience and eventually earn her master of fine arts in creative nonfiction.

Because of her love and passion for learning, and what she’s taken away from teachers she’s had at Plattsburgh State, Assefa would one day like to teach at a college in one way or another.

“Teachers change the way I see things,” Assefa said. “I was thinking, how do I know anything I know? The only way we can pass things down is by teaching things.”

Even though she would like to be a teacher one day, she doesn’t want to be locked down in a typical nine-to-five job that doesn’t fuel her passion, but still feels that she can still pursue her creative work outside of the workplace.

“I don’t want to work in a place where I don’t get to use my creativity,” Assefa said. “I don’t have to quit a job to pursue a dream. Balance your life. It doesn’t have to be one way or another.”

Assefa feels that balance is an important factor in anyone’s life, and that through balance, anyone can achieve success and fulfillment in their daily lives.

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