Sherlock Holmes stories, dinner conversation about adopting a dog, and singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” When I think back about my First-Year Program (FYP) last semester, these are images that immediately come to mind. Now that I have almost completed my second semester at St. Lawrence, I am able to reflect upon my first year in college. As I contemplate all of the amazing experiences and new friends I have made, I cannot help but thank my First Year Program for making my transition from high school to college more smooth than I ever imagined it would be.
I am a proud member of Holmes College. My FYP was titled “Sherlock Holmes and the Art and Science of Reasoning,” and in it I, along with my 31 other classmates, read Sherlock Holmes stories and mapped out Holmes’ argument in many of them. Not only was this my favorite class last semester, but it also showed me how truly fantastic the faculty are at this school. We had a philosophy professor and a chemistry professor co-teaching our FYP. Odd combination? We thought so, too, until we realized they were married. During the third or fourth week of classes, they extended an invitation to our class to go to their house for dinner. By this point, we had heard stories our Orientation Leaders had told us about going out for a meal with a professor, but we never imagined this would happen during our freshman year! I went with two of my new friends and we had no idea what to expect. The dinner was a lot of fun and it made all of us feel valued as individuals instead of just as students. At dinner we talked about Shakespearean plays, our hometowns, how we were adjusting to living in a dorm, and dogs. The topic would be on the clubs we had joined since coming to SLU and the conversation would somehow wind up back on why our professors needed to get a dog. This dinner was by far one of my favorite experiences I’ve had thus far in my short time at St. Lawrence.
The class was phenomenal, and I will never forget it, but perhaps even better than the class were the relationships that came out of it. After graduating from high school, I was intimidated by the idea of having to start over and build up a new network of friends. I had gone to school with most of my high school friends since first grade, and the thought of starting over was daunting. A part of the First-Year Program is the First-Year Cup, which is like the House Cup competition in Harry Potter. Holmes College competed against all of the other colleges in all sorts of events such as trivia, Tug-of-War (which my college won!), and a poster/song event. I will never forget virtually every member of my FYP sitting in the hallway of our dorm fitting the words of our alma mater to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” We all had so much fun and grew so close during this process, and we have stayed a pretty unified FYP after the First-Year Cup came to a close, even calling ourselves “Holmies (#holmies4life)."
The First-Year Program is, by far, one of the best facets of St. Lawrence and I am so glad I could experience everything the program involves. Now that the FYP is over, we aren’t all in a class together anymore but we still greet each other and remember back to the adventures we all shared. Whether it becomes merely a group of acquaintances or a group of your very best friends, your FYP experience will be something you never forget during your time at SLU.