There is a lot less ramen than I expected…there’s still ramen, just a lot less.
My idea of what I thought college changed a lot based on what I saw and heard as I grew up. I would say my first impressions of college would be the first time I saw Disney’s The Extremely Goofy Movie. I figured I’d be heading out with my best friends, driving away from home, getting involved in a sport, and maybe even a fraternity. In the movie, Goofy ends up following his son Max to college, and I hadn’t even ruled that out at the time. I love mom and dad, but that is not an option anymore. Please visit anytime, however!
Later I had learned from movies and tv to expect lots of parties in college, and crazy friends. That was also inaccurate. Those opportunities exist, but good friends keep you out of those scenarios, and rather, watch Netflix and make food until the late hours of the night. A classy alternative. Coming from a place with no professional sports teams and limited concert options, going to college in the Seattle was a huge eye opener for me. Fellow social squad member, Lauren Diuco and I, are counting down the days till we can watch games at SafeCo Field again or see the recently crowned Sounders take over CenturyLink Field as the MLS Cup Champions. I really didn’t consider these options until I arrived at Saint Martin’s.
Until my teammate in high school signed to run track in college, I hadn’t seen collegiate athletics to be in my future, but I planned to make it a reality, and I did! Another reality that came true in college stems from another Disney movie, Toy Story 3. Mom took that one hard watching Andy go to college, and I always thought it was kind of ridiculous until it actually happened to me. It is crazy hard to say goodbye to your parents, especially when you live far enough away that you’ll only see them a few times a year. You learn how to stay close, and they love updates and pictures, so make sure you do that.
Reality definitely breaks expectations and that is such a great thing. Lessons continue to be taken out of the classrooms, and you learn so much more than what you have on your class schedule. You learn which stereotypes you can break about college students, and create your own experience here at Saint Martin’s. However, I’d be surprised if you don’t accompany a late night of homework with ramen at some point in your four years…
Two weeks ago, a group of Saints got off a bus in Seattle and made their way to CenturyLink Field. The Seattle Sounders, a Major League Soccer team, were playing their last game at home before trying to make the playoffs. All they needed was a win, and we were there because Campus Life put it together. The Sounders won 2-1, and since then have won the next two playoff games without allowing a goal. On October 1st, Residence Life took a group to go see the last home Seattle Mariners game. They had unfortunately been eliminated from the playoffs the night before, but they were one of the best Mariners teams in recent years, and Saint Martin’s was there to watch them.
The location of SMU is really incredible. Only an hour away from Seattle, and two away from Portland, events are never hard to come by, and SMU is great at getting you there. Saint Martin’s attendance at a Seahawks game may be many years down the road, that isn’t stopping anyone from throwing together their own residence hall, football party. These experiences are not limited to sports!
My American Immigration class, taught by Dr. Brian Barnes and Dr. Jamie Olson, took us into the Seattle Chinatown-International District. I doubt I would’ve made the trip there on my own, but now I’m sure I’ll go back. We were given a tour of the Wing Luke museum and the historical buildings in the area. We were also able to try some amazing food! Another example of an off-campus event would be discounted, or free tickets to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.
While it isn’t off campus, one great annual event that most students can get involved with is the Saint Martin’s Gala. The Gala can still provide as a fun distraction from studies and stresses while staying at SMU. This year, it will be Saturday, November 5th. The Gala is a fundraiser for student scholarships, hosting wonderful guests every year. This year, we welcome Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods, and Ligia Karazawa of Eataly Brasil. Last year, we were fortunate to host the cast of The Chew, including Iron Chefs, Michael Symon and Mario Batali. It’s amazing that we can get such incredible chefs, and personalities on our SMU community to help create scholarships. This will be my first year attending the Gala as a member of the Social Squad! If you would like to donate, but cannot attend The Gala, we would welcome a gift that you can give here.
We’re so lucky to have outlets provided by the school that get us off campus and let us see what else is beyond the Residence Halls and Old Main. We can spend so much time in study rooms and behind our textbooks that we can forget how important it is to focus on our own self-care, and watch a game, explore a new city, or meet new people.
Thanks for reading.
Eleven months and twenty-five days ago, I scrambled to throw my things in to my backpack. Usually, I would be getting the guys together so we could go get lunch at Speedy Subs or The Chowder House, but today was different. Today was a milestone that I would never forget, and one that would decide where my life was going after graduation. That day I sat down at a table in our school’s library, surrounded by family, friends, coaches and staff. Next to me was Jalon McCullough, the school’s star basketball player, and together we both fulfilled our dreams of competing in our sports at the college level by signing our National Letters of Intent.
I would bet that you can remember any of those milestones from your own senior year, or just life in general. Those moments where you thought “This is why I worked. This is why it took all of that time. Just to get to this moment and feel that even for a few seconds, it has all come full circle.” However, these moments do not last forever. I thanked all those who supported me and served as role models. I signed my NLI, hugged my parents, coaches, and friends, and it was over. By making my decision, I finally began seeing myself leaving it all behind. So because I had accomplished what I had set to do in the years before, I now had to give it all up? The “lasts” of my life started becoming milestones too.
Eleven months and twenty-seven days ago, I went to my last prom.
Eleven months and fifteen days ago, we had our last day with our kindergarten buddies (who are now first graders!).
Eleven months and nine days ago, I had my last day as Student Body President and swore in my successor.
Ten months and thirty days ago, I put on my cap and gown, received my diploma, and had my last day at Monroe Catholic High School.
Last. Last. Last. Last.
Seven months and thirty days ago, I had my last day in Fairbanks. Followed by my first flight to Seattle to get to Lacey. Seven months and twenty-nine days ago, I had my first practice with my new Saint Martin’s Saints cross country team.
Seven months and twenty-four days ago, I had my first service project at the Olympia Children’s Museum with all of the first-year students for Incipio, our orientation program.
Six months and twenty-six days ago, I went to the Washington State Fair for the first time.
Five months and fourteen days ago, I had my first article published in the school newspaper.
First. First. First. First.
The saying “when one door closes, another door opens” comes to mind. These doors were going to close and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to go out and find the doors that were opening, and that meant leaving home. If you are about to leave home in a few months, take in your lasts! You earned them! Then know that there are many firsts around the corner… maybe even at Saint Martin’s.
Nine weeks. The first twenty-seven are down, and I just have nine to go. This is the first day back after Spring Break. I feel right at home, but man, oh man, am I missing Fairbanks.
I had the three months of summer before I got on the plane in August, and I had a month for Christmas break. Two-thirds of this year have been spent in Lacey now, and that will be the story for the next three years. Here I am, putting numbers and statistics into my college experience. Why? To better understand what I am accomplishing here? No. That is not an accurate representation of what I am gaining from SMU. I will save the numbers for my economics and calculus classes, because I think of this year by all of the friends I’ve met and memories I’ve made.
Making the Dean’s List was fantastic news to me, and it reflected all of the hard work that I had put into my classes that first semester. When I think of this later, I will not think of every test and assignment, but rather what I felt when I went up to my door and saw my name on the certificate. That was a “need-to-call-mom” moment if I ever had one. “Need-to-call-mom” moments are an excellent way to think about college.
Mom is always my greatest supporter, and she has been with me every step of the way until this year. It should be noted that when I say “Need-to call-mom”, that includes dad too! I think that until this year, I didn’t realize what my family meant to me because they were always there. Now they are far away from me, including my two little brothers. “Need-to-call-mom” moments are important because it shows the moment was more important than a regular Facebook post, or tweet. It would have been something that you would want to celebrate with the whole family. Along with academic achievements, these moments included an exciting track meet, any time I would go and explore a new city, getting an on-campus job with The Belltower,
or completing an interesting project for a class. Mom isn’t just there for the good times, however. She is also there for the rough spots in life.
Recently, the leadership positions on campus were announced and I was greatly anticipating to be selected as a Norcia mentor. Unfortunately, I was not chosen, but was offered a position to be an Orientation Leader. I would have loved to be an OL, and hope that I can at some point, but the job requires me to stay on campus over the summer, so I had to turn down the position for now. Initially, I was pretty upset by the news, but I had to let it go. Nevertheless, it was a “need-to-call-mom” moment. By talking to her, I was able to visualize the big picture and see that not only had I already had a great year, but that I had many more opportunities to come. Just because I will not be a Norcia mentor next year, doesn’t mean I can’t be a leader in the Saint Martin’s community, and nothing is stopping me from applying for the position again next year.
It would be easy to start distancing myself from leadership programs on campus but that is not what this experience is supposed to do to me. I can see that the Norcia program is very tough to get into, but this is strengthening me. I will be improving my skills for another year and be ready to earn my spot next year. Until then, I will continue to work to find my place at Saint Martin’s, and give back to the community that is giving so much to me. Oh, and of course, update mom along the way.
Thanks for reading,