At St. Lawrence, everyone's first-year journey is unique. No one has to follow a set structure or plan to find a home here. With tons of clubs, student organizations, and campus events to choose from, each and every student, no matter what their interests, creates their own fitted first-year recipe. Here is a glimpse of mine.
Finding My Way
As an international student, I arrived on campus a week before the first-year class orientation began. When my classmates finally joined me, I already knew my way around—well, I thought I did. The first Tuesday of the semester was my first day in a college classroom, and the first class was conveniently my First-Year Program, "Silent Seasons: Human Impacts on the World.”
After class, our Orientation Leaders took us through the academic buildings around campus in preparation for the official, University-wide first day of classes. As we walked the halls, I took a moment to check where all my classes were. My FYP class was in Valentine Hall, and the class following it was “Introduction to Computer Programming” in Bewkes. Contrary to what I initially expected, Bewkes and Valentine Halls are connected. I mapped out my whole schedule and realized that this area on campus would be my home for all four of my classes.
My first week went by quickly, and I consulted each class syllabus for the homework I’d be expected to complete over the weekend. Getting lost while going from one class to the next was inevitable as I walked around the interconnected buildings just to find myself back where I started! Despite a few wrong turns, I could feel my first-year recipe coming together.
Outside of regular class meetings in Valentine Hall, my first FYP community-building activity was going to the club fair as a group. Over 80 tables lined the walkway in front of the Sullivan Student Center, each representing a different student-run organization. While I signed up for tons of clubs, the ones that stuck with me were the African Student Union (ASU), Agape Christian Club, Advocates, and later, the 2026 Class Council where I served as the secretary.
I remember going to the first meetings of these clubs knowing not a single person, sitting down, introducing myself, and breaking the ice just by simply sharing my name and my favorite ice cream flavor! Each club gave me a unique glimpse into student life at St. Lawrence.
Mixing It All Together: My First-Year Journey Recipe
When I look back on all these experiences, different elements from each club, organization, or class shaped my unique first-year journey. It inspired me to write a recipe for any future first-years finding their way. I encourage you to take what you want, leave what you don’t, and add your own unique ingredients.
1 cup of adventure
Pro tip: Stir in a trip with the Outing Club to a place you have not seen! I had a great time exploring the North Country on excursions throughout the Adirondacks with my FYP classmates.
2 heaping cups of friendship and community
Pro tip: Whisk in moments to participate in campus events. I loved being part of a beautiful celebration of the 2023 Africa Week with ASU.
A quarter cup of curiosity
Pro tip: Fold in time to explore your passions—something I was able to do while writing and completing my own projects in Statistics and Programming. I loved getting to do research in comparing Marvel and DC comics as well as creating my own ping pong game!
A dash of fun
Pro tip: Drizzle in a leadership experience. I can’t forget the amount of fun I had planning and executing our first Class Council board game night as we shared laughs and moments with each other.
A half cup of connection and conversation
Pro tip: Repeat the folding process one more time by exploring your passions with others! I treasured my discussions with fellow Agape Club members on and off campus. I also appreciated how much I learned while training to become an Advocate.
End with a pinch of patience and grace, lay back, and let your experience rise.
When I reminisce about my first-year experience, I realize that I never had to worry about not having a stereotypical or pre-planned experience. All it took was finding my own way.