SLU Goes Global: What I'll Miss Most When I'm Abroad

Olivia L. Hess
Class of: 
  1. I was sitting in class when I found out I’d be going abroad. I had been scrolling on Facebook before class started, and saw a close friend of mine had updated her Facebook status, “So excited to announce that I will be spending next semester in LONDON!” I felt my heart drop into my stomach. Study abroad decisions were out already? Everyone I had talked to told me that we wouldn’t find out for at least another week. I refreshed my email, and sure enough, I had an email from the Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study Programs. My heart pounded as I signed into my application page and clicked “View Decision Letter.” In my haste, I skimmed the letter, completely skipping the first paragraph—the very part that told me I was officially accepted into the Vienna, Austria program. After going back to the top and reading the letter through, I stifled an excited scream (I was in class, after all), and texted my parents to share the good news. I read the letter over and over, already mentally packing for my trip. Needless to say, I am excited to go abroad.

After attending study abroad orientation, it finally started to sink in that I would be away from St. Lawrence for the next eight months. I could not be more excited to go to Vienna, I can’t stress that enough, but I found myself thinking quite a lot about all the things I will miss about SLU when I’m away. I know I won’t be able to escape the snow and cold considering where I am going, but there are a lot of things I’ll be leaving behind in Canton.

1.     Campus

Students in the Vienna program study at the Austro-American Institute, which is located right in the city. Most SLU students chose this school because they disliked the feel of city universities, so this will be a big change for everyone in my program. I will miss walking around campus in the winter because even in frigid temperatures, our campus is crazy beautiful. There is something about having such a small and close-knit community that really makes St. Lawrence feel like home.

2.     Dana Brunch

If you didn’t go to Dana Brunch over the weekend, were you even here? Dana Brunch is a ritual unlike any other. Every student knows the rush that comes when you find out that there’s mac n’ cheese bites at brunch that day, when the waffle station isn’t being used, or even when the coffee is fresher than usual. After two years at St. Lawrence, I like to think that I’ve perfected the art of the Dana Sit, and all that wisdom will go to waste while I’m away.

3.     Clubs and Organizations

This might sound completely dorky, but I LOVE how many clubs and organizations are available to students. I am currently in Thelmo, our student government, the Treasurer of Advocates, an Admissions Ambassador, on the leadership team for Campus Kitchens, and social chair for the Singing Sinners. I love the strategic chaos that comes along with being involved all over campus, and I definitely won’t have that in Vienna.

4.     My House

Even though I complain about them all the time, I’m going to miss the slanted floors, our rickety porch, the messy kitchen, and my room. Our house is certainly not a palace, but it has character. I’m going to miss the drafty rooms that force me and my housemates to snuggle up together on the couch, the “Sundays are for the Pats” football sessions in the common room, the disorganized house dinners eaten at our wobbly table, and the sense of love and community that can only come from living in close quarters with other people.

5.     The SLU Community

Non-SLUzers are always astonished by the sense of community that comes from being a Laurentian for Life. From alumni to first-years, we are all connected. We hold doors for each other. We learn together, live together, and grow together. When I interviewed for the Admissions Ambassador position, I was asked how St. Lawrence could be summarized in one or two words. I thought for a moment, and settled on the words “SLU Family.” Despite how cheesy it sounds, there is unique sense of interconnectedness at St. Lawrence that you don’t find at other schools. I will be sad to leave that in Canton, but as Laurentians, we never truly leave it behind.