International Student Life Ft. Ben Chipman

By: Ben Chipman

Hi, my name is Ben Chipman, and I’m a senior here at Plymouth State University majoring in marketing, with a primary concentration in professional sales. I’m also minoring in economics. Initially, coming from Western Canada, hockey was the leading reason as to why I chose to leave home and attend university in New England. Quickly I started to realize, how diverse this school truly is, and that enabled many new, unforeseen experiences. The friends that I’ve gained through hockey as well as from other sports teams and classes have assisted me in taking a broader view into the true meaning of the “College Experience”. Most notably, one of my fondest memories was winning back-to-back MASCAC championships, my freshman and sophomore year. This experience, coming to the rink every day and working towards a common goal with my teammates, taught me the true meaning of friendship, trust and cohesiveness. The feeling of meeting our goals together, and the memories we have from these seasons will never be forgotten. The inclusiveness that we created away from the rink allowed us to achieve this and maintain the feeling of enjoyment throughout times of adversity. As I’ve seen seniors leave, it should be noted how the impact of prior alumni were the building blocks in the creation of my current and future experiences here at school.

This aspect of “Giving Back” is something I’ve worked to emulate, and most recently, I was able to do this in the form of becoming an International Orientation Leader for our Global Engagement Office. As a freshman, I was lucky enough to attend a special orientation week, dedicated to international students coming to the US to study for the first time. During this period, I met some amazing people, and a few became lifelong friends that I will be in contact with for forever. After experiencing the events that were put on during this week, I wanted to provide the same memories to other incoming freshmen. For me, being Canadian, I didn’t experience the typical “culture shock” others did, however I saw how these orientation leaders carved a path for new students and helped create a sense of comfortability right away. As a sophomore, I found my experience being an Orientation Leader very rewarding and an experience I’d recommend to anyone thinking about becoming more involved on campus.

Making the most of your 4 years is incredibly important. As I sit here writing this, I’m in the midst of entering my final year. Being involved in four clubs on campus, the sales team, becoming an orientation leader and balancing a full course load with playing varsity hockey has been a challenge. Why do I mention all of this? It’s not to flaunt my self-worth or show how I feel a student-athlete should be, but instead to mention that these experiences were all ones that I wanted to be a part of because of the friendships I was able to create. The people that have instilled such an amazing culture at PSU is what fueled me to become so active on campus. I never thought of these experiences as “resume builders” but social opportunities and ways to diversify myself as a person. Plymouth State and the close friends surrounding me have shaped me into the person I am today, something that would have not been possible without taking the risk to enroll in this small, public university in the middle of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.