Humans of UK: Annalei Canter travels outside her comfort zone


Annalei Canter poses for a photo on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, at the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Sophia Shoemaker

Freshman fashion merchandising major Annalei Canter has lived in several states and countries throughout her life, and she is working to meet new people in her newest home at UK. 

Canter was born in Chongqing, a municipality in central China, and was adopted at 12 months old. She lived in Georgia with her parents and four siblings, one of whom was also adopted from China. 

She came to UK knowing nobody, and she said since she grew up in a big, tight-knit family, being at UK was an entirely different experience.

“I love my family so much, so being away has been hard at times, but I was also excited to experience new things,” Canter said.

In order to meet people, Canter said she just “walks up to random people and starts talking.” She also often plays piano in the student center, and can play with her eyes closed, arms crossed, and even turned around backwards.

“I learned to play piano when I was six,” Canter said. “I taught myself, and I play by ear.”

Canter prioritized both education and campus activities when choosing a college, and she is currently a member of the Delta Zeta sorority at UK.

“I wanted a bigger school that had a good reputation in academics, a big social community and a big panhellenic community,” she said.

Though Canter described herself as an “outgoing person,” she said going to an out-of-state college where she knew no one was “a big adjustment.”

“My life at UK in the beginning was a bit rough. I struggled,” she said. “That didn’t stop me from putting myself out there and really pushing to meet new people, and I have already made some really good friends. Being in Delta Zeta has also helped me meet amazing people.”

Despite the rocky start and her homesickness, Canter is adjusting well and said she loves being on UK’s “cute and diverse” campus. 

“I love the city of Lexington. I’ve always liked to hear the cars and the busy streets when I wake up, and having people everywhere is an aesthetic that reminds me of being at home. I also love how safe I feel on UK’s campus,” Canter said. “Even though I do miss my family, it’s been going great so far. I can’t wait to meet even more people and have more new and fun experiences my freshman year.”