London to SLU: Missing the Little Things Abroad
Last spring semester, I participated in St. Lawrence's London Program and excitedly stepped onto my plane thinking about the incredible opportunities about to come my way. Yet as my semester of exploring the streets of one of the largest cities in the world came to a close, the more excited I grew to return to the little things of St. Lawrence that make it the place I now call home.
- The People
The expedition on the Tube every day to class was exciting and had its own heartwarming moments of nice conversations with strangers. However, it became obvious that SLU truly has its own remarkably friendly student body that is unlike any other group of people I have met. The short five-minute walk to class where I pass an old FYP member, a professor, a teammate, and a simply happy student – all waving to me – is an irreplaceable experience. Doors are held open, laptops are left on tables without worry, and everyone on campus creates that cheery atmosphere that St. Lawrence finds a way to emulate every day.
- The Activities
Of course being away from campus, I missed my student groups. Running alone, instead of with my cross country teammates…or humming “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band, instead of belting it with my Singing Saints, made me feel less whole. I have come to identify these groups that St. Lawrence has given me as part of me and I cannot imagine my college experience without them. Even the ability to show up to Chess Club meetings or sign-up for virtually any event of interest is a unique opportunity to take advantage of on campus.
- The Campus
The view of Big Ben walking through London or the sight of Buckhingham Palace outside my bus window was absolutely stunning. Even in the midst of beautiful parks and historical landmarks, a part of me wanted to see an Adirondack chair sitting outside on the Quad. The light snow made me think of the snow-covered campus and walking through the winter wonderland to the holiday-decorated Student Center as the bells of Gunnison Memorial Chapel echo in the distance.
But little parts of SLU still found their way to London. Through live-streamed events, like Singing Saints concerts, I didn't miss any important annual traditions. Also, as soon as I entered our building on Gower Street, the same habit of holding doors and professors that went out of their way to personally know their students, helped me know that I was still part of a St. Lawrence experience. Even if I passed fellow St. Lawrence students on the streets, that familiar smile and happy conversation always found a way to make me feel not so far from campus.
Now back on campus as a senior, I am remembering to cherish each of these little things and the many more St. Lawrence has to offer. I know it may seem simple, but the first day I was back on campus -- with a Pub order in my hand, and at a Singing Saints practice singing the first chord of our vocal warm-up –- I never felt more in perfect harmony.