In the spring on my Junior year of High School, I started to look at colleges, as many do. It's a good time to do it. My advice to anyone who is looking at colleges is to look at as many as you can. It's a good way of determining what you do and do not want in a school. What I wanted was liberal arts and small. My high school was small, there were about 300 girls, so I knew I would do well in a small classroom environment. I also knew I didn't want to be in a city, but I wanted to be near one. I toyed with the idea of an all girls college but decided that ultimately I wanted to return to a co-ed school. I met with my guidance counselor in March of my Junior Year and we drafted my college list... there were eighteen colleges on there.
In June of my Junior Year, I was awarded the Saint Michael's College Book Award. The book award is given for "Academic Achievement with Social Conscience". I received First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, a Saint Michael's graduate. To be honest, I was not super excited to have gotten the award from Saint Michael's. It had not been on my radar of schools to look at.
|The book I got for my Book Award, we're actually reading it in my First Year Seminar!|
My aunt Carol went to Saint Mikes and graduated in 1996. She had done incredibly well here, she double majored and minored, was in the Honors Program and played varsity sports. She was really successful here, and I didn't want to have to follow in her footsteps. Sometimes it is intimidating to follow on someone else's path. I thought it would be much better to make my own.
However, I still came to look at Saint Michael's. My mom and I came up in August, and we toured. I was a little overwhelmed by the tour (this was not unique to Saint Michael's, though, it happened on all the tours I went on) until we got to the Dailey Room of the library. The Dailey Room is on the second floor of the library and has this amazing view of campus because it has a huge window. You can see the academic buildings, the quad, and across to the chapel. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I just remember thinking what a beautiful place to spend four years. My love was cemented by the fact that everyone just seemed so friendly. It was the beginning of August and students had not moved back in yet, but there were some students living on campus. I remember how everyone we ran into knew my tour guide and they said hello and knew each other's names. I got a really great vibe from the campus and could tell there was a strong community.
|Me at Saint Mike's when I came for my tour!|
One of the things that drew me in the most was the size of the school. I had never gone to a large school, my pre-Kingergarten through Grade 8 school had about 400 students and my high school had about 300 students. I loved that Saint Michael's had 2000 students and very small class sizes. My classes range from 15-30 students, so I know everyone's name and get to form a relationship with my teachers. Just from my tour, I could tell that it might be a small college, but it was a very tightly-knit community.
That fall, I decided to apply to two other colleges in addition to Saint Michael's. The other two schools were both small Catholic colleges in New England. One I had visited and liked, and the other I had not visited. I knew that I wanted to go to Saint Mike's, so I really just applied to the other as back up. I applied early to all my schools so I would know where I was going by Christmas.
While I was waiting for my acceptance letters, I wanted to get as informed about the school as possible. So I went to a KnightChat, which is an online chat where current students answer your questions. Also, I read the Student Blogs often. I thought it was a super neat way to get to know more about the school. As a prospective student, I read Alex's blog a lot, because we have a lot in common and I was interested in the psychology department (she's a psych major).
Finally, on December 19, I received letters of acceptance from two of the schools. I was ecstatic- I had gotten into college!! But I really wanted my letter from Saint Mike's. The next day, I was on Christmas vacation from school and willed the mail to come early. At my house, the mail comes around 2:45, and I had to leave for work at 2:30. I waited and waited, and the mail had not come, so I had to leave. I checked my email before I left, and found an email that said I had been accepted! I was SO happy that I did not want to go to work, I just wanted to stay home and celebrate. But of course I went to work because I knew I would get my physical letter in the mail when I got home.
When I got home, my purple envelope with a gold seal was waiting on the kitchen table. It even had a hand written message from Jerry Flanagan, who is the VP for Admissions and Enrollment Management about my college essay. It was a nice personal touch. And with that, it was official, I was going to be a Purple Knight!
Now that I am here, it seems silly I was so hesitant to look at Saint Michael's. It has become my home. My aunt and I have totally different college experiences, and that is completely okay. I have forged my own path and gotten involved in my own activities. I feel like going to Saint Mike's has only brought us closer, because we have it in common now. She came to visit for Alumni Weekend about a month ago, and it was awesome to get to walk around campus together and see what has changed since she was here.
|My aunt and me, Class of 1996 and 2016|