First Person: No Ordinary University, Connections with Faculty and Staff
I have always found the dynamic between teachers and students fascinating. Growing up in a household with two parents who worked in the public school system, I quickly gained an understanding of the importance of education. However, education extends so far beyond the classroom; more than just notes, lectures, and facts, education is an endless pursuit of knowledge. This is why teachers have always intrigued me. So many lessons they instill upon their students are about so much more than subject matter. A simple question asked outside of the classroom with a faculty member at SLU can lead to profound insight and meaningful self-discovery.
As a senior here at St. Lawrence, one of the many amazing aspects of my time here has been the genuine connections I have made with faculty members. Starting with my First-Year Program professor, who I regularly met with during my first semester to discuss possible majors and programs to take advantage of during my four years, I could already tell that this was no ordinary university. I knew going abroad was something I wanted to participate in. I scheduled a meeting during my sophomore year with the Center for International and Intercultural Studies Office to receive some more information. There I met one of the kindest and warm people, Associate Dean of International and Intercultural Studies Marina Llorente. I sat down with her and had an in-depth conversation about all the benefits of going abroad and how much of a positive impact it would have on my college experience. I would chat with Marina every time I was in the office during my application process. My parents even met her when they came for Family Weekend one year. To this day, I will still stop to catch up with her when our paths cross on campus. She will ask about my classes, extracurricular interests and will say to give a hug to my parents for her. Marina is an excellent embodiment of a palpable sentiment at SLU: we may have differences, but we are all Laurentians.
Two other meaningful relationships that I have formed are with Beth Larabee and Anne Clements in the Career Services office. Beth has been a constant force of positivity during my time at St. Lawrence. She is always quick with a smile and a hug, and some good ol’ motivation to apply to SLU Connect events (networking opportunities that Career Services hosts in various cities across the country during academic breaks) which have led to some serious self-discovery about what career path I want to pursue. Anne was originally my boss at one of my on-campus jobs before she transitioned to the Career Services office. I have already met with her multiple times this semester about job opportunities post-graduation. She, too, is a constant presence of warmth and positivity, flashing me a smile whenever I see her and assuring me things will work out as I venture out from St. Lawrence to future endeavors. These women have had a substantial impact on me and also always ask how my family is doing whenever I see them.
The fact that there are so many amazing faculty and staff members at St. Lawrence is no coincidence. Amazing places attract amazing people, and the faculty and staff at SLU will work tirelessly to ensure all students have a positive experience during their time on campus and that they set themselves up for success in the future. While I am sad that I will not always be a 10-minute walk from these amazing individuals’ office, I know these relationships will extend far beyond my four years at St. Lawrence and that I will have these mentors and many more in my corner, the St. Lawrence corner, for life.