A Thank You Letter To SLU (From a Senior)
When I sat down to write this letter, I spent a long time deliberating how to start. How do you thank someone or something who has so vastly shaped you into the person you are today? So, before I get into thanking SLU, I would first like to thank the people that got me here. To the writers, editors, and distributors of the St. Lawrence University magazine: thank you. If I had not grown up with a collection of St. Lawrence magazines under the coffee table in my living room (that I saw nearly every day), I probably would have never had such a passionate desire to avoid attending my parents’ alma mater. Which leads me to thanking my parents, because if they had listened to me when I insisted that there was NO WAY I was going to go to the same school as them, they would have never forced me to visit. And if they hadn’t forced me to visit SLU in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I probably never would have fallen in love with it.
To SLU for creating a community so entirely kind and charming that it was able to convince a stubborn girl to give it a try: thank you. When asked on tour why I chose St. Lawrence, I always smile as I think about my first visits to campus. I chose SLU because I felt like every person I met on my visits was outgoing, friendly, and happy to be a Saint. I loved the energy given off by the students and faculty as they talked about the parts of SLU that they held close to their hearts. I loved that every person I met was excited to have me there. Every person I met wanted me to be a Laurentian. I loved the way people at SLU expressed kindness towards one another, whether they were holding open doors or offering big smiles to every person they passed on campus. So, for that I say thank you, SLU, for creating an atmosphere that supports and encourages big smiles and bigger hearts.
Fast forward to my time on campus. I want to thank SLU for all of the ways it has supported and encouraged me. From my first day on campus, I knew there were Laurentians who had my back. They tell students that Orientation is a program designed to help first-years acclimate to campus life and learn campus policies, but I don’t think of it quite like that. In your first few days at SLU, you are given a small network of people that have your back. Then, during your four years at SLU, you are given every and all opportunities to grow and shape your network until it is so beautifully big and over-flowing that you have to spend your last months of senior year wondering how you are ever going to leave it, only to realize that you aren’t leaving your network. You are just leaving the physical boundaries in which you created that network. SLU allows you to create a home that you can carry with you long after you leave campus. So, for that I thank you, SLU. Thank you for teaching me that home isn’t always four walls and a roof, but that sometimes home is a person, or people, that make you feel the way you want to feel and be the person you want to be. Home is a place where you are comfortable enough to try, because you know that people will catch you if you fail. Home is what comforts you and supports you. The feeling of home that SLU provided for me is something that has shaped me into the person I am today and the person I one day hope to be.
So, for this I thank you, SLU. Thank you for providing me with people and spaces that inspire me, teach me, help me to grow, and work with me to develop the version of me that I have always wanted to be.
I can’t help but feel melancholy about leaving the place that has meant so much to me over these past four years. The thought of not spending anymore sunny Saturdays hammocking around campus with my friends, or not eating another Sunday brunch at Dana, or not having another meeting with my advisor to discuss life or school or shows we think the other should watch, makes me sad. There is so much I will miss. But, as much as it makes me sad to leave SLU, I know that SLU has prepared me well for what lies outside of this campus. I am ready to take on new challenges and try new things. All the while, I know that I will always have a place in this community. I will always have this home, and I know this home will always be a part of me. So, thank you, SLU, for the memories; for the laughs and maybe even for a few tears; for the incredible people, incredible Mac and Cheese bites, and the incredible opportunities that have taken me above and beyond where I ever could have imagined I’d be.