What I Would Tell Myself as a First-Year | St. Lawrence University

What I Would Tell Myself as a First-Year

Monday, May 3, 2021

"College was the best four years of my entire life. Enjoy it while it lasts because it'll be over before you know it..."

That's the classic line that we've all heard a thousand times from our uncle, mom, grandpa, or older brother at family holiday parties. I remember hearing that and not thinking much of it at the time. Here I am, sitting at my computer, writing my final St. Lawrence Admissions blog, about to walk across the stage at graduation and shake President Fox's hand in just three weeks' time. I hate to be a broken record but your uncle, mom, grandpa, and older brother were right--it'll be over before you know it!

Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in my first-year dorm room getting to know my new roommate. Like most seniors do, I've been reflecting back on my experience at SLU. My time has been filled with long-lasting memories and unique friendships, many hours spent in the classroom with insightful professors, and of course, some pretty mediocre food.

This reflection period has also made me think of some things that I wish I knew during my freshman year before embarking on this four-year journey at St. Lawrence. So for all of those future SLU freshmen out there, here's a little inside knowledge from a silly old washed-up senior:

1. Be patient.

I say this because I think so many people come into their college experience expecting to feel this overwhelming sense of community and belonging after their first semester. I am encouraging you to be patient because I would argue that more often than not, students find their group of friends and feel a sense of belonging after their freshman year.

2. Take advantage of the campus resources.

It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and activities at SLU, going through the motions and not stopping to do things that are out of your routine. College campuses are full of incredible opportunities and resources that are extremely accessible but are easy to pass by.

I wish I took more advantage of SLU's Career Services and utilized their networking workshops and alumni events. SLU also frequently brings incredible and accomplished speakers to campus to talk about their experience or give informative talks about their research. This is something that I wish I took more advantage of during my time at SLU.

Additionally, as a student at St. Lawrence, you have the knowledge and expertise of a network of professors at your fingertips. It is important to acknowledge what a privilege it is to receive a higher level of education and utilize the resources that become readily available to you while on campus. 

3. Do things outside of your comfort zone. 

Similar to the idea of going through the motions, it is easy to go about your time at SLU as comfortably and smoothly as possible. I would encourage every student to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and try things that they might not see themselves normally doing.

I have found that the best things seem to come from the least expected moments. For example, I am a member of the theme-house community and live in Commons College. I applied to live in this house my freshman spring and was intimidated by the process. It felt out of my comfort zone to put myself out there and interview in front of 25 individuals that were older than me and who I didn't know well. Applying to live in Commons ended up being one of the best parts of my St. Lawrence experience. Had I not pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, I wouldn't be living in this house or have made some of my very best friends.

This is just one example of ways to reach beyond your comfort zone, but it can be something as simple as introducing yourself to a stranger at a party or signing up to go on a hike that the Outing Club is leading on Saturday in the Adirondaks. St. Lawrence is full of unexpected moments that tend to end up being the most cherished memories.