As someone who grew up twenty minutes from campus, Saint Vincent always felt like just some school down the road. In high school, when people began to ask me where I was thinking about going to college, I would always tell them, “anywhere but Saint Vincent.” It was simply too rural, too familiar, too close to home. By the end of senior year, I had decided to attend Saint Vincent for a number of reasons. When I finally told my family where I chose to continue my education, they were thrilled. Saint Vincent is where my father attended prep school and earned his undergraduate degree. Its where both of my brothers chose to study business, and where my oldest brother met my sister- in- law. My family has had ties to Saint Vincent since the 1960s, so in many aspects it was the most normal and expected choice I could have made. I was not entirely convinced that I made the right decision, but I declared a marketing major and enrolled anyway.

After three years at Saint Vincent, I now know that it was always the college for me. The sense of community here separates Saint Vincent from every college that I toured in high school, and every university that I have visited since. I am not sure if there is another campus on Earth where you could leave your phone, laptop, and wallet on the table without a thought. Saint Vincent is a place where people smile at each other, hold the door for each other, and where someone will (usually) fold your laundry if you leave it in the dryer long enough. It is a place where professors email you about internships they came across because they remembered you were interested in that company. Its also where no one judges you for smelling like the caf, because by second semester, everyone smells the same way. I have seen Saint Vincent mourn the loss of our neighbor Arnold Palmer, raise thousands of dollars for charity in remembrance of loved ones, and come together in prayer following horrific terror attacks. Saint Vincent is a place where students, faculty, and administration celebrate each other and cheer each other on. This community is unique, and it is special. 

As a junior, I am no longer experiencing Saint Vincent as “Dr. Niemiec’s daughter” or “Dan and Nate’s little sister”. Saint Vincent will always remind me of my own family, but now it also represents the experiences and memories I have made for myself. It is where I have made my closest friends and built relationships that will continue long after graduation. Here I have taken classes and met professors that have forever changed my way of thinking, and have deeply impacted my life. Over the last three years, Saint Vincent has become so much more than just “the college down the road.” Today when people ask me if I am glad that I chose to study so close to home, I tell them I couldn’t have imagined being anywhere but Saint Vincent.