Surviving SLU Culture: An Island Girl's Perspective

By: 
Janelle Dillon
Class of: 
2019

As I stepped out of the security van in front of my dorm, taking in what will be my new residence for four years, I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin with a cool breeze that made me feel a little chilly, nothing a light jacket couldn’t tackle. I was excited to start my new journey in a tertiary institution far away from home. I knew it could never compare to Jamaica, however I was hoping for the best as I normally do.

As I explored the campus during International and First-Year Student Orientation, it became more and more homey. However, as the year proceeded along, it was not what I expected. My first year was the worst year I had at St. Lawrence. Not only was I home sick but the food, weather and social life didn’t suit me. I kept asking myself why I was here and wondered if I made the right decision. Yes, the professors were great and the academics made it worthwhile, but was it worth it to be unhappy just going from class to work to homework to bed. I questioned my survival and if I would make it for four years. I wasn’t lost within myself, but I was confused and at the same time, I didn’t want to give up.

Now that I am a junior and I went through the motions, I am in a better place and I can sincerely appreciate St. Lawrence University for what it has to offer me in both academic and personal growth. I remember the first time I went out with my friends to an indoor rock wall climbing on campus and that was the first time I saw the school through a different light. Coming out of my despair that night enabled me to be more comfortable. Because of that, I was able to branch out and get more involved in clubs, thus making my experience more wholesome. Through great company I was able to find ways for me to adjust not only physically by wearing warm clothes, but also mentally. Instead of trying to see SLU as the making of another home for me, I accepted it as an institution that would challenge my ideals and perspective. It has done just that.

For new students, I would recommend taking your time to find a group of people that you see yourself making memories at SLU with. The best way to dive into SLU is by joining extracurricular activities that share your goals and interests. Most of all, don’t be afraid of people who will challenge you, but welcome it.