Humans of UWL: Julia Balli


Julia Balli. Photo by Henry Anderson.

Henry Anderson, Photojournalist

Julia Balli, a recent graduate of UWL, is someone who found themselves struggling greatly when it came to high school. “In high school, I struggled a lot to maintain my grades. With school in general, I just struggled with it,” said Balli. Eventually, after graduating high school and coming to UWL, she realized that maybe going to school here was too much for her to handle. “My freshmen year, when I came here, I was thinking about transferring back home to a different college,” said Balli.  

“But right when I stopped filling out the application [for transferring] is when I got hired at The Racquet,” said Balli. She continues to note that, “if I wasn’t involved in it [The Racquet], I probably would have transferred somewhere else.” “This has been a huge part of my college experience,” said Balli.

Within her first month at UWL, Balli was hired on to The Racquet as a general assignment reporter. Through this position, Balli moved up the ranks to become one of the editors.  

Along with that, being a part of The Racquet helped Balli formulate what she wanted to do while at UWL. “I initially came in as an English major emphasizing in writing and rhetoric and I was that major throughout my freshmen year,” says Balli. She continues to state that, “I just kind of chose it just because I always liked writing.”  

“But, going throughout my freshmen year, I didn’t take any English courses really. It was all general education courses that I had to take. So, near the end of my freshmen year, I just switched to communications because I talked to people in The Racquet who were communications majors. You just learn so much more in terms of social media and journalism versus being an English major,” said Balli.

Joining The Racquet and switching majors to communication studies, Balli has been able to become more involved with attending UWL. Besides being the executive editor for The Racquet, Balli works at Murphy Library as a help desk assistant. “Basically, I just sit at the desk and do homework. But my main responsibility is to help anyone who comes up with questions with checking out books or with research for class,” Balli says. 

In conjunction with their job at the library, Balli is also involved in both the English and communication majors’ honors societies and is a student mentor intern for the English department. 

As the next steps become closer for them, Balli has realized that their time spent at UWL has helped her formulate somewhat of a plan for the following years. “Since I am a communications studies major, I have to do a capstone project. I have found through that that I really love doing research,” said Balli. While discussing their project further, which is about how people communicate mental health in the workplace, Balli said, “Conducting this whole project never would have made me think that I would like something that much.” 

Balli hopes to pursue this enjoyment of research through more schooling. “I still don’t fully know; but, my plan, right now, is to take a gap year. Then go to graduate school. [Everything] has taken a huge 180. I wasn’t planning on going to graduate school at all, and now I want to go. I don’t know where. I have to do a lot of research,” said Balli.

In the end, it is clear to see that Balli was heavily involved with the campus and their majors’ departments. In this sentiment, Balli has some words of advice for those who are coming into UWL as brand new students. “Getting involved in campus, outside of your courses is probably one of the most beneficial things that you can do. If I didn’t join anything and just did my courses, I definitely would be less satisfied with where I am now with my college experience.”  

“Through the different things I have been involved in, I have so many more friends in there than just being in class,” said Balli. “So, I think it helps to get involved because then you get to see what you like to do, what you like to be involved with, and meet new people. It’s just doing what you like.”