Bringing Friends Home for Dinner: The Perks of Being a North Country Student
Many times, I have been asked by family and friends, “Why would you go to a university that is so close to home?” To that question, I have many responses. I often tell them that I knew the moment I stepped on campus here I felt as though it could be a second home. I also tell them it is always as close as you want to make it, and for me, sometimes it is a completely different world, but other times I make it as close as it truly is.
I am from Norwood, New York, which is only a 25-minute drive, give or take five minutes depending on what we Northerners consider “traffic”. That being said, when I chose St. Lawrence University, some of the people around me were concerned that I wouldn’t get the full college experience, but I have found that I have gotten more than the full college experience.
When I first thought about coming here, I was dead set on commuting. After talking to family, I learned that I would gain more by staying on campus, and they were right, but that did not mean that it was a bad thing that I would get to come home once in a while-which was something that I wanted to share with my second family that I have formed here on campus.
During my freshman fall, I formed a tight-knit little family of friends that I made in my First-Year Program. I decided that October to call up my mother. She answered the phone, asking the usual questions about how school was going and I responded with, “Great! I was wondering if you would be up to having a few of my new friends over for dinner. Do you have room for 10 more Friday evening?” My mother and father love to host dinners, so of course, they were eager and elated that I asked such a question.
Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year. My friend group has evolved and I have formed even more friendships. I decided to bring them over again in the spring, and yet again my parents were delighted to host them. This time though, my dad decided to add a little twist with a ping pong tournament. The winner would receive the “Ping Pong Champion hat” which would be up for grabs each year we decide to have a rematch.
My dad is a bit of a "try-hard" when it comes to hosting gatherings. Last spring, they hosted a get together for my birthday and I brought a bunch of friends home. Like always, my mother cooked some great food. My dad, being the “cool dad” he is, decided to spray paint a regulation badminton court with SLU printed in big letters in the center. We had another competitive tournament, in which my dad proceeded to beat all of my friends (but that is probably because he had been practicing for weeks).
Being a local student has allowed me to share the joys of my new second family with my actual family, which has truly been one of the best things about the friendships I have formed. My mother and father are able to put faces to names and have gotten to know them. They especially like that they are considered the “chill parents”, which admittedly concerned me at first, but now I think it is the greatest.
I couldn’t be more thankful for the extended family that I have formed here at St. Lawrence and am so grateful that I have such a “cool” family to share with them. Our door will always be open to them, and we hope they feel as though our home can be their home away from home. There’s always room for 10 more and there’s always time for a little ping pong or badminton. Who knew that being 25 minutes away from home would have made my experience at St. Lawrence even better?