Why St. Lawrence Wasn't My First Choice (But It Should Have Been)

By: 
Maya Bryant
Class of: 
2019

While I was in the process of applying for college, I had a few concerns about St. Lawrence University. Since my parents both attended SLU, I grew up in a house where St. Lawrence was mentioned frequently. Sometimes in nostalgic dinner conversations, sometimes in hopeful remarks like, “Maya, you are going to at least look at St. Lawrence, right?” Although I did agree to take a tour of the campus, I had the stubborn mindset that there was NO WAY I was going to the same college as my parents. I worried that St. Lawrence was much too small. I didn’t want to go to a school where I would see the same people every day. I was afraid it would make college feel too much like high school. I also thought I wanted to be in either a city or a large college town and was afraid that if the town was small, I would get bored. These reasons all seemed so convincing and important at the time, but now I can only look back at my senior-in-high-school-self and laugh.

As one of my good friends here at St. Lawrence so frequently says, “You can’t win ‘em all.” And that is exactly how I felt when I discovered that I was unable to go to my top choice school because it was too expensive. That left me with my second choice: St. Lawrence University. I knew that St. Lawrence had a beautiful campus and that all the people I had met at St. Lawrence were so incredibly nice, but I was still hesitant as Move-in Day got closer and closer.

I wish I could put into words the feeling I had when I arrived at St. Lawrence on the very first day of freshman year. You know how a lot of people say that you don’t know a good thing until you’ve lost it? Well, I didn’t know a good thing until I found it. The first day, first week, and first month of school still remain among the most memorable times in my life. It was during that time that I met so many people I now call my best friends and it was in that time that I realized how dumb I was for having any reason for not wanting to be a student at St. Lawrence University.

I quickly found that I was not the only legacy student at SLU. I met a large number of students who had a relative who attended St. Lawrence. Some students even had lists of family members that were and are Laurentians. Apart from that, knowing that my parents had walked the same sidewalks and had classes in the same rooms as the ones I was having classes in now, made SLU feel like home very quickly. Another one of my worries before attending SLU was that the school would be too small. Although yes, the school is small, it turned out to be one of the things I love most about St. Lawrence. I loved that within a month of being at St. Lawrence, I could walk into Dana Dining Hall and say hi to lots of people I had met in classes, my First-Year Program, and through clubs. The welcoming and friendly atmosphere that always encompasses SLU makes the small student body feeling like that of one, extended family. My fear about the size of Canton was also unfounded. Starting from the second I got on campus, I have not been bored. That holds true for my whole freshman year, as well as the start of my sophomore year. The campus offers so much to do on a daily basis that I am continuously busy. And when I do feel the need to get off campus, it’s easy to find a group of friends that will head to Whiteface with you for the day, sit in hammocks with you down by the Grasse River, or head to The Bagelry in Canton with you for some pretty delicious bagels. My worries of being bored in a small town were quickly eased when I realized just how hard it was to be bored at SLU.

Being a Laurentian is one of the best things I will ever be. Canton, New York, will always be my second home, and I will continue to thank my lucky stars each day for landing me here at this very special place. St. Lawrence University was not my first choice, but it definitely should have been.