The Little Things | St. Lawrence University

The Little Things

Vina Smith
2018

As a second semester senior, I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about all the things I will take away from my St. Lawrence experience. But far beyond the grades on my transcript and diploma in my hand as I walk across the stage, I wanted to take time to think about the little things that made up these four beautiful, messy, exhausting, glittery, exhilarating years. After all, the big moments in life are always made up by the little decisions we make.

Try everything once. Seems simple enough, right? My first St. Lawrence adventure resulted from me signing my name on a paper that took me into the Adirondack Mountains for three days before First-Year Orientation began with a group of 25 strangers, some of which (not to my knowledge at the time) would become my current senior year housemates and best friends. In between the campfire ghost stories, cliff jumping, rainy weather hikes, and white water rafting, I found my people, my voice, and a renewed love for the outdoors. I continued to try new things and signed my name on pieces of paper that would eventually put me on a sports team, bring me to Dub Club meetings, take me on Outing Club trips, get me to successfully interview for and obtain jobs as an Admissions Ambassador and Orientation Leader, and make me a trained Advocate. While I have admittedly unsubscribed from many email listservs during my time here, I would never have met the incredible people or experienced the opportunities I have if I hadn’t put myself out there in the first place.

Dance often - make room for the music. Every first-year student in the sciences knows about the dreaded Friday quizzes in biology and chemistry. Whenever I reached my wit’s end in the library from studying, I would take a well-deserved break to head to the Java Barn, our beloved on-campus music venue, where bands from across the Northeast come to perform every weekend, typically on a Thursday night. Whether it’s dancing at Java, in a theme house common room at 2:00 a.m., at a Springfest or Fallfest concert, or just by myself in my dorm, music has been a consistent source of joy and comfort for me. College can be stressful; give yourself a mental break, throw some glitter on and dance.

Grab coffee. If caffeine isn’t your thing, grab lunch, or even ice cream. Basically, sit down with fellow Laurentians and share experiences, stories, and advice. Coffee dates on campus have enabled me to reconnect with old friends after coming back from a semester abroad, network with my alumni mentor, be a shoulder to lean on for roommates in distress, and help younger classmates navigate their majors and future plans. Whether I am benefitting from a coffee date or paying it forward, carving time out of my day to share a table at Dana or the Pub with another member of the SLU community has never been time I regret spending.

To underclass students or even prospective students, I hope this gives you some inspiration on how you want to spend your time at St. Lawrence. For my fellow seniors, as we reminisce on four irreplaceable years, I encourage you to think back on your little decisions. It’s finally time for us to celebrate the big moments that have come from them.