Bursting My “SLU Bubble”
I never thought I would struggle to adjust to a place as much as I did at St. Lawrence. After all, I had travelled to various countries, attended international schools all my life and attended boarding school in a whole different country. Uprooting was my thing, it came easy to me. Until I moved 8,000 miles away from home, the furthest I have ever moved from my family. It is no secret that St. Lawrence is a predominantly white institution. For this very reason fitting in would be slightly more difficult than usual, especially considering the “SLU bubble” a term given to describe the isolated campus and the lack of connection to the outside world. What I like about St. Lawrence is that despite this isolation, attempts are made by various student led clubs to temporarily burst this bubble and let people in.
In February, the Black Student Union celebrated Black History Month through various events spread out throughout the month. One of my favorite events was the Black Voices showcase. For the second year in a row, we brought up a step team from the Bronx known as the Players Club. Through a performance and work shop they educated us on the history and importance of stepping and how they keep it alive. This event was not only entertaining but it made me feel even more comfortable being at St. Lawrence where there are events that everyone can relate to and knowing that celebrating an important month such as this is a possibility.
When I think about four years ago when I was deciding which college to attend, I remember what attracted me to St. Lawrence was the infinite number of clubs they had to offer, from Chess Club to the African Student Union to the Entrepreneurship Club. So many to choose from and if they don’t have a club you would like to see, you can always start it. At the beginning of every semester, there is a Club and Organization Fair, which I encourage all to go to. Other than the fact that you can leave there with so much candy, stickers and if you’re lucky some SLU gear, you can also leave there with a potential family, as I did.
Having a safe space is key to living anywhere, including college. I was not ready to find that the same clubs that brought me to St. Lawrence would be the same clubs that made St. Lawrence home, my safe space. The African Student Union and the Black Student Union club meetings would get me through the weeks. In between taking six courses, having two jobs and sleeping, it is good to be able to have a support system and a place where you get to be yourself and have conversations that lift you up, these are the spaces.
No matter where you are from, or your race, you are welcome to participate in these clubs and I promise you will not regret it. If difference scares you, I urge you to step out of your comfort zone. That’s the great thing about college and St. Lawrence University, it is a time to try things you would usually not and open yourself up to new experiences. So ask yourself, which clubs are you going to try out?