Ever since I began at Saint Martins in 2016, I have had positive and negative experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. Even if there are things I think could be improved, I believe that God has blessed me with many opportunities that I would not have been able to experience anywhere else. For one, going to school 45 minutes away from my family gave me the ability to live at home, but in the last year, I was able to live in Olympia and commute a short distance while holding both on and off campus jobs. I’ve held four jobs on campus, and four positions here at the newspaper, which I’m sure I would never have been able to get otherwise, and have been taught lessons on taking initiative, leadership, and getting to know my community. I love that I know the faculty in the political science and history department personally as they have helped me navigate my major and gave great advice and insight from their many years of teaching and schooling. Being able to wave at people I know in the hallways every day, and knowing at least one person in my classes each semester is of great comfort to me, and has helped me ease out of my introverted shell to become much more of a people person than I ever thought I would be. Working at the library has provided me the chance to learn the names of faculty, staff, and students that I would not have the enjoyment of meeting otherwise. What an opportunity it is to go to a small school and to have the ability to best utilize the time and resources available on campus. If you have these opportunities, don’t pass them by! Get involved in clubs, enjoy your chance to be something significant, and to not only learn, but to experience personal growth.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.” – Calvin Coolidge. I often think about this quote whenever I am presented with a problem or an opportunity. People are not successful because they are smart or because they have been well educated; they are successful because they take opportunities that come to them and don’t let anything stand in their way. I learned this lesson when I was interning at the Legislature this semester. No matter who I was working with, I noticed that the best way to get anything done was to be persistent on my objective, and to not give up. Again, your God-given talents are helpful, but without persistence, you cannot achieve anything.
Nearing the halfway mark of my undergraduate career, I am thankful that I chose Saint Martin’s as my school. Although my plans have changed drastically during my time here, the Saint Martin’s community has helped facilitate my growth as a person. Initially, I chose this school because of its engineering program. I switched from civil to mechanical engineering, but then decided that STEM was not my calling. Although SMU’s STEM program was the deciding factor in my choice to attend Saint Martin’s over other institutions, I am excited to finish my degree at this school in Business Administration. Professors have continued to challenge my learning in many ways, whether it be academically or morally. My freshman year, I was able to find a job with the Belltower as a sports writer, and I enjoyed that position for the year I held it. As sports section editor this year, I have continued to grow as a person. Working as a team with my peers to produce the school newspaper has been enjoyable and meaningful for my educational experience at SMU. I encourage everyone to find a student activity or two that they find interesting, whether it be a club, organization, or team. These activities can facilitate the connection between students and their school better than anything else.
I have now completed three semesters at Saint Martin’s. From dealing with tough professors, roommate drama, 8 a.m. classes, and the overbearing stress of school that every college student can relate to, it has already been a rollercoaster. Yet, despite all the mishaps and downs I’ve experienced, I’ve also learned a great deal. I learned to always check the Rate My Professor app and to pay attention to the reviews, to remove myself from a situation as soon as it gets toxic, to never choose 8 a.m. classes for every day of the week, and to stop procrastinating, because that’s most likely the root of all scholarly stress. The growth that these experiences provided me is one that when looking back, I am proud to have went through. This school may have thrown its worst at me, but along with that came its best. I was able to be in classes with great professors who not only helped me within the subject, but in other areas as well. The faculty and staff have also been beyond helpful when it came to problems I would encounter regarding my student account. If I could offer advice from what I have imbibed so far in my collegiate journey, it would be to be a go-getter. So many opportunities are offered to us and all that is required is that we look and apply. Put yourself out there, and though it may seem scary at first, you’d be surprised at how much you’ll actually benefit from and enjoy it. Now, no matter how many more semesters you have left to endure in the college journey, push through. As the famous saying and the mantra of my life goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
I am so thankful to attend Saint Martin’s and excited to have one year completed. Although this school year went by fast, it has been full of new and exciting opportunities and experiences. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in and out of school this year to pursue my interests and learn more about myself. My advice is to never take opportunities for granted. Every opportunity is a chance to learn and grow. As you learn, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life that I have found I can grow and learn from. This school year, I’ve had so many chances to meet new and interesting people, try new things, and study interesting topics. Challenge yourself in all you do and work hard to be the best version of yourself. There is so much to learn from the experiences that are outside of your comfort zone. Starting college was a scary step for me, but I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had and glad to know it’s not as scary as I thought! It all flies by so fast, but the memories made and knowledge learned will last a lifetime.