The Value of a Smile | St. Lawrence University

The Value of a Smile

Kate Songer
2019

I get asked all the time: “Why SLU?” “What made you decide to come here?” Quite frankly, I knew absolutely nothing about SLU when I decided that I wanted to come here. I didn’t know anything about academics, social life, athletics, or residential life. In fact, as an 18-year old, I generally didn’t know what I wanted out of life, let alone what I wanted out of a university or what I wanted to major in.

So, why SLU? A smile test.

When I toured college campuses, I essentially walked around and smiled at strangers. A little cheesy and maybe a little creepy, I know, but I wanted to get at the root of what kind of atmosphere each campus had. Were people generally excited and happy to be here? Or are students walking around like zombies with their eyes glazed over going from class to class?

For each person that smiled back, or held open a door, or ask if I was lost or needed help, I counted a point toward that university. Out of the ten colleges I toured, where did I count the most smiles? You guessed it. St. Lawrence University! 

This was the most important factor in deciding where I wanted to go. I knew that every school would have athletics or some academic department that I might be interested in, but that didn’t matter so much to me. I wanted to be surrounded by vivacious, passionate people, and people who felt like they had a reason to smile, even to strangers passing through their school.

Now choosing to go to a school based off the number of smiles you saw might not be the most practical way to make a decision, but I’ve been smiling every day since.