When I found out about the First Year Program at St. Lawrence University, I was intrigued and so excited to see what it had in store for me. I had never even been to summer camp or that far away from home, so I was nervous about making friends and going to school in the first place. The FYP allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and really meet some of my best friends with whom I am still incredibly close today.
Before my first year began, I briefly worried that the FYP would be limiting or serve as just another college class, but it is truly such a special aspect of being at St. Lawrence. You are able to become close with the people around you from the get-go, create and maintain a relationship with your advisor, and get rid of the initial nerves of taking college-level classes for the first time.
I know I'm not the only SLU student who found themselves in a very close-knit group with some of the people in their FYP. Because and your classmates chose to take the same course, you already have a common interest. My FYP's shared interest was bias in the news and media. I was able to meet some of my closest friends through a class that only met twice a week. I also formed a very good relationship with my advisor early in the fall, which helped in picking classes for the spring semester.
I met some of my best friends within the first few days of being at school just by asking them questions about our FYP homework, preparing for a presentation together, or getting lunch with them after class. Because you live on the same floor as your classmates for a whole year, there’s a huge opportunity to make and keep these friendships early on.
I think the FYP is something that sets SLU apart from other institutions. The nerves and anxiety of making friends are often the biggest sources of stress students have when going away to college for the first time. I remember talking to my friends from home and hearing how they were struggling to make friends. Many of them didn’t form friendships with other students until later in the year. I felt bad for them but was secretly so thankful I had immediately transitioned into a support system.
I remember having the final dinner with all of my fellow FYP classmates. We were at one of the long tables in Dana, sharing our highlights from the year, laughing because we were happy to be together one last time, and crying because we were going to miss each other so much. I wondered if we would grow apart as everyone was going to be living in a new place the following year. Thankfully, we are all still in the loop, always catching up with whatever news we have to share.
FYP is something so unique and special here at SLU. I was lucky enough to have had such a great experience with my FYP, and I know others coming to SLU will be just as fortunate.