No Typical SLU Student

By: 
Noelle Reilly
Class of: 
2015

As an Admissions Ambassador at St. Lawrence, I get asked a lot of questions on campus tours. Often times, the questions are straightforward and my answers come quickly and confidently. But there is one question that stumps me every time:

"So what is a 'typical SLU student' like?"

My usually talkative mouth is rendered silent by this seemingly simple inquiry. When I was first faced with this question, I had to admit that I just didn't know. I had never even thought about it. Unsatisfied by my uncertainty, I set out on a personal quest to find the typical St. Lawrence student.

I turned first to field of study. Sure, St. Lawrence has more "popular" majors, including government and environmental studies, but we have over 30 other majors that also attract dedicated students. We have single majors, double-majors, double-minors, combined majors, and a number of other combinations that make studying what you're passionate about at St. Lawrence very easy to do. Because we aren't required to declare a major until the second semester of sophomore year, SLU students can be found in any department, at any time. Even once we've settled down, students often have room to take classes "for fun" that don't fit with their majors. I'm currently taking a fantastic religious studies course called, "Goddesses." As a history and anthropology double-major, this class doesn't technically count toward either of my fields of study, and yet I was able to take it simply because I wanted to. Considering all the freedoms that SLU students have in regards to their coursework, I figured that it is not one "typical" field of study that united us.

So if we're not all interested in the same subjects, what was the common factor? The next thing I ruled out was extracurricular activities. With approximately 175 registered clubs and organizations at SLU, one can mix and match their activities in whatever way they please. Currently, I am involved with Dance Ensemble, Anthropology Club and Knitting Club, but in the past I have participated in Cheese Club, the Community Gospel Choir, and our volunteer-run Seed-to-Table Garden. Some students have as many extracurricular activities as I do; some have more, and others have less.

Demographically, SLU students are far from homogeneous. We come from all walks of life, and from 42 states and 50 countries. I have friends who dress reliably in Vineyard Vines pastel shorts and friends who are always flaunting their latest thrift store finds. More often than not, these friends overlap. We do not separate ourselves.

My contemplation of this dilemma was leading me nowhere. But in realizing that I was getting nowhere, my search suddenly stopped. I realized that the answer to that notorious question is, “There is no typical SLU student.” The only common denominator is that we each come to St. Lawrence with unique points of view, and go through our four years at college pursuing the things we are passionate about. None of us are the same, and no one is “typical.” We are city kids and country bumpkins, musicians and scientists, jocks and couch-potatoes, preppy and granola, and all of the things in between. The one thing that we have in common is our love for exploration, both in the classroom and out - if that’s “typical,” sign me up!