I was very leery about going to college, especially an all-girls college with two campuses. I thought to myself, "How much stranger could this whole experience get?" and I thought that Saint Ben's had everything I wanted: it was relatively small, private, liberal arts, a good distance from home, seemed like I would be getting a good education in a well morally rounded school that was based in tradition. Just a few of the many things I valued in education experience.
However, when I arrived my first year, all of those positive feelings went away. I wasn't too happy about living away from home, I didn't want to share a living space with another person, I didn't want to share a bathroom with so many other girls, I was afraid I wouldn't fit in or find people I could relate to, I didn't know where all of the buildings were, I could not figure out the bus schedule, and I was missing everyone I left back at home.
Through all of these struggles, I had hope. I had hope because I knew that great things didn't happen overnight. I knew the adjustment would be hard and I realized that through time and effort this experience could truly be everything I wanted it to be. So I pulled up my boot straps and joined clubs, intramural teams, attended events on campus, got a job through student employment and spoke to people in my classes. It honestly took me an entire academic year to feel comfortable in those boots, but by the end of my freshman year, I felt acclimated.
When sophomore year rolled around, I found myself referring to Saint Ben's as (as cliché as is sounds) home. I would refer to my dorm room as "going home." I reached out to first-year students who were struggling like I was during my first year. I did this at my job with first-year coworkers who were trying to understand student employment and their new job. I helped a first-year Bennie who I didn't know very well, but she was from my hometown, feel more comfortable at Saint Ben's. I found myself getting involved more, speaking out more in class, and reaching out to first-year students who found themselves in the same situation I was in my first year. It felt good to help and it felt good to advocate for something I truly feel good about: the Saint Ben's community.
Megan R. '18 | Champlin, Minn.