There's a lot about Saint Mary's that makes it the perfect school for me. It's a beautiful campus, there are warm cookies in the dining hall, and the bookstore is full of adorable merchandise. I love the sisterhood and the class rings and every other typical "Smick" thing, but the best part, for me, is the environment that the adults in the community create for us.
OK, I know -- 18-22-year-olds are technically adults. But, I'm talking about the actual grownup adults: the professors, the administrators, the staff. Being at such a small school has allowed me to create relationships with people who, at other, larger institutions, students often never even talk to directly. But because Saint Mary's has classes that average at around 10 students, I feel completely comfortable saying pretty much anything in front of my professors.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that I've had multiple mental breakdowns in my lit professor/advisor's office throughout the years. I've also found that the more personal nature of Saint Mary's has made me so comfortable with my professors that I don't have to censor myself in class — and yes, I do use the word "douchebag" in my HUST classes. A lot.
Since the election, I've noticed that professors and other "grown up adults" on campus have become even more of an integral part of my college experience. I have also noticed that some people think the proper response to their compassion is to turn against them and say professors aren't doing their jobs by "coddling" their students.
But they aren't coddling us. They are offering us a space where we can process what we feel and find a way to move on.
The day after the election, I sat in my nonfiction writing professor's office. We cried. We sat in disbelief. We tried to figure out how to move forward. That half hour in her office was insanely helpful in moving on for me.
In the almost two weeks since the election, faculty and administrators have put on multiple events on how to have civil discourse and how to move on. I spent entire events talking to the assistant to the College's president about how the election had affected me. The next day, I received a text from her with some advice and a virtual hug, letting me know she was thinking about me.
I could go on and on about how my professors and other adults on campus have helped me in ways other than teaching me material and grading my assignments. I never imagined being in a place where adults cared so much about people who weren't their family. I never knew I could have such strong relationships and even friendships with people in an institution like this.
So I came to Saint Mary's for the education. And the cookies, campus, and a bunch of other reasons. But I'm staying because of the amazing people I've met along the way.