If you would have asked me in April of 2014 where I was going to go to college, I would have told you I was going to La Salle University. I would have told you I was going to major in journalism with a minor in the fine arts and live in the honors house in the middle of campus. I even wrote La Salle University under the “Where we’re going” list of colleges on the whiteboard in Mr. Rubino’s class. It was basically official.
I think I always knew it wouldn’t work out. When I gathered my sisters and parents to tell them I decided to go to La Salle, there were no cheers, no high-fives, no “We’re so happy for you!” My parents told me to think it over some more. My oldest sister, Laurene, asked me to think of another reason to go there other than “it has my major”—My older sister Vanessa; said nothing.
It is not that I did not want to go to Saint Joseph’s; it was my second choice. The order of the colleges I wanted to go to was La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and then Rider. I wanted to be kind of close to home, I wanted the college to have my major, and I wanted to be happy, most importantly. I visited Rider to shadow a Rider student for a day. While on my shadow day, I found out Rider is a commuter school. I was not comfortable with the idea of people leaving campus every day to go home. So, I had to choose between La Salle and Saint Joseph’s. Naturally, I made one of my famous pro/con lists and Saint Joseph’s ended up winning, but I still was not convinced. Saint Joseph’s was not the school for me. Admittedly, everyone was extremely nice at every event I attended, even my Hawk Host from the first tour I took remembered me when I returned on Accepted Students’ Day. Everyone was so outgoing and confident and I was not sure I could be like that.
I told my parents once again that I wanted to go to La Salle, and once again they told me to think the decision over some more. I decided to visit my sister, Vanessa, at Lafayette College where we sat on the Quad (a lawn in the middle of campus) to discuss where I should go to school. It was a beautiful day out. It was hard to focus on what Vanessa was saying when the weather was that nice. I was laying on a towel in the grass while Vanessa sat next to me. We talked for a while and she told me everyone wanted me to go to Saint Joseph’s. When I asked why, she didn’t give me a specific reason, but just that it seemed to be a better fit. She asked which one I had “the feeling” at. I rolled my eyes. While on my multiple college tours, my tour guides usually mentioned that they just got a feeling and that’s what made them choose the college they attended. I never experienced this. The only feeling I had was nausea because decision day was about a week away. I left Lafayette, unsure of whether or not I wanted to go to La Salle. I didn’t understand what I was missing about Saint Joseph’s.
I had been updating my cousin Andrew throughout the college process and decided to talk to him about my problem. Andrew was actually the first person who suggested I look at Saint Joseph’s. I told him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to La Salle anymore, how my parents and sisters felt, how I was terrified I wouldn’t make friends, how big cities make me anxious, how a few girls at La Salle told me to never walk off campus—much more than he probably cared to know. He let me vent to him, and then told me this: “No matter what decision you make you’ll be great. Just go with your gut/heart. You’ll never go wrong.” We talked for a little while after that. It occurred to me that if I was having this many doubts about La Salle, then maybe it was not the right choice for me. Andrew was also the first person I told I was going to Saint Joseph’s. The next day I erased La Salle off the white board in English class and replaced it with Saint Joseph’s.
It was as if last summer was on fast forward because when I look back on it, it is one big blur. I graduated high school, I went to orientation, my cousin got married, I went swimming, I wrote thank you cards for everyone who came to my graduation party—all of a sudden it was the night before move-in day. My immediate family came to visit me the night before and it was after they left that I began to cry. I cried for at least an hour. It was all too real. I started to regret every decision I made: choosing Saint Joseph’s, rejecting La Salle, living in McShain, the purple and red comforter. I asked my mom if I could go to Lafayette to be with Vanessa or if I could go to the community college. She told me it was too late to change my mind. Once I stopped crying, I decided to not sleep that night. It was childish but, I thought maybe if I didn’t go to sleep, move-in day wouldn’t happen. It didn’t work.
I moved my stuff into my room, I met my roommates, my family and I went to the mass where everyone cried. It was after mass that I met Toria in the reception after mass. She was also living in McShain and we exchanged numbers. My family and I went to get dinner at Landmark. It was at Landmark that I saw, Danielle, someone I had met at orientation. She was also living in McShain, so she gave me her number. I quickly discovered that in college, you give your number to everyone you meet, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
I hung out with Toria, Danielle and their friends, Nicole, Mike, Julian, Emily, Lizzy, Emma, Amber, Sonali, Mack, Andrew, Rachel and A LOT of other people, . By November, it was like we had all been friends for years, instead of just a few months. I met more people and joined a few clubs and I realized that the majority of the people on campus were so genuinely kind and caring.
As summer break approaches, I find myself kind of sad that my freshman year is coming to an end. The people I met during my freshman year changed my entire outlook of Saint Joseph’s. I loved the people I met here and I’m going to miss them a lot over the summer. I’m going to miss going to Sweeney field at one in the morning to just walk around with my friends; I’m going to miss sitting outside listening to music while trying to do homework; I’m going to miss the wonderful people I’ve met living in McShain. However, I know I’ll be back and I’ll see them all again. I sincerely cannot see myself being anywhere else than Saint Joseph’s. I’m proud to call myself a Hawk.