When I Knew St. Lawrence Was Right For Me

By: 
Thomas Faraday
Class of: 
2018

The fresh rays of a springtime sun were shining on the April day that I visited St. Lawrence University for an Admitted Students Open House during my senior year of high school.  During this visit, I would go on to taste the full experience that a student here could expect. But, my story had begun long before I even knew what St. Lawrence was or how I could find my new home in this place.

The story of my time at St. Lawrence conceptually began at the Matriculation ceremonies of friends and mentors who had studied at the institution before me. In the years preceding my college application process, I had met a number of St. Lawrence alumni who were happy, worldly, and successful folks who could speak for hours about the positive experiences they shared with peers during their time here. I had met professors, professional athletes, researchers, and doctors who all held St. Lawrence in high regard and revered its students, rigorous academics, and vibrant student life. These were people that had, through St. Lawrence, found opportunities to engage with the world each in their own way that led them to exciting and adventurous places, jobs, and communities. One particularly well-traveled friend even said that she "had never met anyone (she) didn't like from St. Lawrence or Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine." Hearing that my small hometown in western Maine could be compared to a renowned liberal arts university in upstate New York as a top place to meet engaging people? Sign me up! I knew that I was intensely curious about what this magical place had to offer a senior looking for an institution to hang his hat on.

Now, back to the Open House.  With piqued interest, I set foot on campus ready to soak up what I could from St. Lawrence, all the while trying to envision myself walking through campus as a student. I enjoyed warm greetings from administrators, fellow students, and other leaders around campus. As I made my way through the day, I couldn't help but notice the bubbling atmosphere and positivity exuded by everyone around me. Had I found my place? I thought, perhaps. At every turn, I found new ways to fall in love with the people and places around me.  This lively and productive student body thriving on a campus adjacent to the beautiful locality of the Adirondack Mountains seemed to make a fantastic fit. However, I didn't really "know" that St. Lawrence was right for me until I had the chance to take a more up-close and personal look at the quality of the academic atmosphere here. 

During the Open House, I took a mock seminar with an esteemed professor in the history department, Dr. Howard Eissenstat.  Dr. Eissenstat specializes in issues relating to Turkey and the Middle East and publishes research surrounding contemporary Turkish politics. The name of the lecture was, "Everything You Need to Know About Islam in One Hour."  This sounded exceedingly interesting and I could not wait to learn more from him. The material in the lecture was engaging and I was impressed by Dr. Eissenstat's professionalism, attitude in the classroom, and ability to convey the material to the class and learned that Dr. Eissenstat is actually a Country Specialist on Turkey for Amnesty International - and has been since 2006. The credentials and experience that he brought to the learning environment absolutely blew me away and demonstrated that at this liberal arts institution, the dynamic happenings of the outside world seamlessly find their way into the everyday lecture.  Dr. Eissenstat is but one example of our thought-provoking and renowned professors that work each day to bring their knowledge to students like you and me. It was on this day that I knew St. Lawrence was right for me and that I needed to dive headlong into the opportunities that awaited me here.

Since that Open House, I have found a family of friends at the University that I now call home. I certainly have stayed busy during my time here! Academically, I am a geology major currently engaged in experimental research in preparation for my senior thesis. In other areas, I have studied abroad in London, joined campus' only co-ed a cappella group, and joined our theme house community.  I serve as a coordinator for the Arts Annex theme house and the Performing Arts Collective. I am also a member of our student government, the Thelomathesian Society, and I work as an Admissions Ambassador. I am a member of the Association for Campus Entertainment and I book concerts and develop programming for an on-campus performance space, Pub 56. Aside from my primary commitments, I participate in many programs offered by various clubs around campus and stay involved to the best of my ability. All of this could not have been possible without the people that make this place what it is to me today. The sort of contagious feeling of belonging that I had been waiting for in my college search leapt at me when I set foot on this campus. This was St. Lawrence University, my new home.