In the past four semesters of giving tours to prospective St. Lawrence students, I have learned many things. I have learned that wearing the correct type of shoe is key, trying to talk over trucks driving down the road is impossible, and that there is nothing more awkward than struggling with the key to open a show room (or to open ODY on Saturday mornings) while trying to still give the tour. But mostly, I have learned that it is physically impossible to express my love of SLU to the students on tour, because some things just cannot be explained. For example…
1. How much every single Laurentian loves SLU.
We are all obsessed with SLU. I know that I cannot even put into words how absolutely incredible this place is, let alone explain how others feel. I can say that every time I meet an alum, a parent of a student, or a former professor, they will, without fail, talk to me for at least half an hour about how wonderful it is here. Whether I am flying cross country wearing a SLU sweatshirt, or waiting for a train at Grand Central Station with a SLU water bottle, I meet people all over the place who love SLU.
2. When you’re abroad, you miss it here a lot.
Spending a semester off campus was one of the best things I have done in my time at SLU. However, there were countless mornings when I would wake up abroad and just want to be back on campus. The break from campus was great, but getting SLUsick is a feeling that every Laurentian can identify with.
3. The excitement you feel in every “One minute left...” moment in Appleton Arena.
Some of my favorite memories from the past three years have taken place at these hockey games. In all honesty, I don’t always watch the games, but they are a great place to see a lot of people you know and to talk to some that you haven’t seen in a while.
4. How much your FYP and first-year friends mean to you.
I have made friends all over campus in all different ways since first arriving at SLU as a first-year student. However, it is my first friends on campus who mean the most to me. My small, close group of friends from my FYP are still the ones I want to talk to when something exciting happens to me, and they are the first people I know I can turn to when I am feeling out of sorts. No matter how long it has been, I know they’re always there.
5. Even when you are six semesters into an eight-semester career at SLU, you will still get goose bumps when you realize all that SLU is to you and has done for you.
When #SLUSaidYes to me back in Spring of 2013, I had no clue how important SLU, this campus, and the people I have met would become to me. The luck that I feel to be at this university and to get to experience all that I do is immeasurable.
6. That it is completely normal to be invited over to your professor’s house.
I cannot even count the number of times a professor has invited me for dinner or for afternoon coffee. I have babysat at different professors' houses and this semester one even invited my entire class over to cook a dinner with food from all the places we had been abroad. SLU professors really are such an integral part of this campus, and they go above and beyond to ensure that we all have the best experiences possible.
7. How every time I drive back to SLU after a break, I still get butterflies of excitement pulling on to campus and driving through the trees with the chapel in the distance.
In this moment, I know that I have arrived back home. No matter how much it can suck to have to leave vacation and come back to classes, SLU is always here, waiting, with open arms.
8. How much using the word “community” over and over again to describe SLU aggravates you, but how true it is.
Someone should really count the number of times during a tour that I use the word “community.” There is no other word that could accurately describe the kind of place SLU is, and believe me, I have tried to find synonyms. But none of them manage to get the same message across!
9. The feeling of comfort you feel walking back to your room after a late night in the library.
I love the nights that I get to walk back to my room in the wee hours of the morning. I love how campus is so quiet, still, and everything seems right in the world. Every once in a while (I promise; these late nights of work do not happen too often!) it is refreshing to remember the beauty of SLU, no matter if I am walking in the first snow of the year or surrounded by the sounds of summer crickets chirping.
10. At the end of the day, no matter how stressed you may be, there is no place that you would rather be than right here.
SLU is funny in that way. There have been nights where I have been up far too late, working on lab reports or trying to get problem sets done. At the end of the night though, I can honestly say that I am always right where I want to be.
So, while I can tell a prospective student on tour about the variety of courses we offer or array of clubs they can join, I can never quite find the words to explain how much SLU really means to me. From now on though, maybe I should just give them a handout of this post, my own personal love letter to SLU.