I registered for my final semester of classes at Saint Mary’s the other day and I wanted to cry. It was starting to hit me that I’m entering the period of “lasts” with my favorite professors and classmates, and I’m personally nowhere near ready to accept it. It’s a weirdly bittersweet feeling to describe—you’re excited to start a fresh semester with familiar professors and new classes, but you’re sad that you keep hearing “you’re pretty much done” from your advisers. It feels like just yesterday I was moving into Holy Cross 2T to start my freshman year at Saint Mary’s; now I’m lying on my couch in Opus praying that May 14 doesn’t come. I didn’t realize how much I would love this place until I got here and made my experience something that I would love.
Saint Mary’s was not my first choice during my senior year of high school when I was deciding where to go for college. I visited here during that summer with my brother as a “spur-of-the-moment” trip to start visiting places. I knew a few friends from home and my high school that attended Saint Mary’s and were strongly persuading me to go there as well, but I was still unsure about it. On the way home, my brother and I were talking about the tour and campus—what we liked about it, what we didn’t, and other factors that would play into my decision. He was on board the SMC train, telling me how well I’d fit in there and succeed. Still, my top college was in my mind and I didn’t want it to go down without a worthy fight. Throughout my senior year, my parents and I would attend both schools’ prospective student events, and by the time Christmas came, the schools were dead even, making my decision the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make in my life.
I visited each school one last time in February to see if I could choose one by the end of the month. When I visited my top choice, I had a great time meeting newly accepted students that were just as excited to be back there as I was. However, when we walked around campus, there was a completely different vibe present that I didn’t fall in love with when I previously visited. Granted it was the middle of winter, but students seemed to be in a rush to their classes, people hardly said “hi” to one another, and there was this coldness I felt (literally and figuratively). After attending some lectures and volunteering to participate in experiments, I still couldn’t shake the feeling of uncertainty about my top choice. I had a great time, but I was more prepared to visit Saint Mary’s within the next week.
When Senior Preview Day arrived, I was excited to meet new people and get a much better feel for the campus. At first I, an intending Biology major, was nervous because I was paired up with an English-Writing major for a campus tour. However, she was extremely nice and welcoming to me, which I didn’t really receive as much at my top choice. I ran into the SMC girls that I knew from school and home, and their genuine happiness of me being there was reassuring my growing likeness for Saint Mary’s. I met a lot of new girls and started some new friendships, and I didn’t feel as uncertain about Saint Mary’s as I did with my other option. As soon as I got home, I told my parents that I was going to Saint Mary’s and that I felt confident with that choice (my dad was thrilled, but my mom was somewhat upset at me since we could’ve put down the deposit there and I didn’t commit until I stepped foot into my own house). Little did I know that my initial puppy love about Saint Mary’s would make me so emotionally connected to virtually everything about it!
Sometimes I go through my old Facebook posts from my freshman year (which is sometimes a bad idea because, MAN, I posted SO many weird/useless statuses…) and read about what I did with my friends. I never thought that 2016 would ever come when I was 18, and I still don’t want it to come now that I’m 22. I never pictured myself doing pushups at the football games (personal record is 7 and I won’t go much higher). I never pictured myself getting a tour of Compton and trying the slapshot machine (still hands-down my favorite birthday). I never thought I’d play Shuffle Puck 3 times during hockey games and lose all 3 times. I never thought that I would rip newspapers and throw them as confetti at basketball games. I never thought I’d love a piece of jewelry more than anything else that I had material-wise. I never pictured myself going to a Jake Owen concert and have it get cancelled because of lightning. I never thought that I would become close and very interactive with an academic department, forming professional relationships that will push me to challenge myself. I never pictured myself finishing my senior comp. I never thought that my faith would be challenged and deepened. I never thought I would make friendships that were like sisters to me. I experienced all of those and then some. It’s absolutely true when you’re told that college is pretty much the best years of your life. I can say, with certainty, that Saint Mary’s has been the best years of my life; I have until May 14, 2016 to squeeze in some more memorable experiences that I can’t even imagine encountering. I’m looking forward to more things that I never would have pictured myself participating in fully one last time.
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