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What’s next?

So you’ve been accepted to college and you’re ready to buy enough spirit wear to last a lifetime. What’s next? For most of us, the next step includes considering what major we’d like to pursue. I was one of the lucky few who had chosen a major already, and I was pretty confident with my decision in nursing. I had volunteered at a hospital for four years, I was comfortable in the hospital environment, I loved working with the patients, and I was eager about my choice. Despite all of my anticipation however, there was a piece of me that was curious about the possibility of studying English literature. I’ve been a bookworm from the beginning of childhood, and I am no less crazy about reading or writing over a decade later. The toughest part of packing for SMC was narrowing my book collection down to three boxes, and then again, to one.

I was particularly perplexed when I received my first essay assignment for the first time since being at Saint Mary’s. I was overjoyed to have a writing assignment, but it brought me back to circling around the question of which major I really wanted to pursue. So I made myself some tea and visited some of my fellow Belles to get some perspective. They gave me advice that I’d now like to pay forward to any prospective students, or even other freshman, that might be reading.

They reminded me of one of the crucially important aspects of Saint Mary’s; it is a liberal arts college, and with a liberal arts college comes the freedom to take classes from a variety of disciplines. Many of my friends are undecided themselves, but are content in the fact that they have until the end of sophomore year to declare a major. In the meantime, they’ll be taking classes that excite and interest them. They reminded me that I can use literature courses to fulfill general education requirements, compromising between my love for literature and my passion for nursing. So I left for class, renewed with happiness for my decision, grateful for my incredible fellow Belles, and hopeful for the prospect of taking literature classes when I can.



Strength in Abilities

On an idle Saturday afternoon this past summer, a little girl was swimming with her grandma in the YMCA pool. As I sat on the lifeguard stand above them, I was watching the girl flail back and forth and feeling uneasy in the process. I thought to myself, “She is too young and much too weak to swim across the pool without help!”

Looking at the empty pool before me, I thought, “What is her grandma doing? She is simply watching her struggle…how horrible!”

Again, I watched the little girl swim back and forth, struggling to keep her head above the water. Thinking that the girl lacked the ability to swim on her own, after 15 minutes, the girl was still persistently flailing around. I began to notice her relentlessness in her pursuit to swim. Ultimately, the girl had proven me wrong, and she had made it to the other side of the pool. Her grandma smiled and congratulated her. I huffed  at myself. Why had I given up on the girl so easily, and why had I assumed the worst?

Perhaps, I was consumed with the ill-sentiments that I would have to jump-in and save her. Possibly, I might have been angry because the girl was trying to do something, she was not equipped to handle.

On the contrary, as I kept watching this tenacious young girl and her grandmother, I was beginning to notice that the little girl accomplished what she sought to do: she swam on her own! She overcame her fear and used her best effort, in order to combat the resistance of the water.

How often have I set out to do something great? How often have others push me down for my aspirations? How often have I been discredited for my abilities? Beginning to see myself in the little girl, I saw my college experience as the pool that she was swimming in. Finally, I understood the lesson here.

From now on, I refuse to be an individual that hinders the abilities of others.

Even in college, we all face challenging feats. We all take on difficult tasks, trying to make it to the other side of our pool without drowning. In spite of the lazy lifeguard  and the smiling support of a loved one, we are a lot stronger than we think! Persist and believe that your inner-strength will carry you through. Thus, we become the little kid that we once were; one that is flailing to the other side of the deep end. Without the negativity of your onlookers, you are the little kid that propelled herself because you believed! No one could do that for you.

"A river cuts through a rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence; that is true strength."

Can you muster the strength to have confidence in your abilities?

—Chelsey Fattal, 2015

2013-05-29 15.40.30



Football Saturday

Saturday, October 4th the University of Notre Dame football defeated Stanford 17 to 14. However, that was not the only exciting moment I experienced. The weather 39 degrees and windy; quite the game day weather. it is really separated the fans from the junkies. Many students decided to leave the game because the weather was to wacky for comfort. Others, including me spent: halftime, the entire third quarter and most of the 4th quarter in the warmth that was the women’s bathroom. it was a sight and an experience. Our friends who outside during the end of the game would not let this go. They said you are not a true football fan until you stay out in the freezing cold and the pouring rain.

All I have to say is that game was the best Notre Dame game I had seen since attending Saint Mary’s College. It kept you on the edge of your seat and allowed no time for even a single breathe to be drawn. It was great well earned victory. The football players truly are the fighting Irish. LaQoia, SMC 2018



For the Kids

If you’ve ever visited Saint Mary’s and had the chance to interview a student and ask her what her favorite part about going here is, you’ll usually get this answer 9 times out of 10: “It’s great because it’s the best of both worlds! You can have your small classroom settings here while also being a part of the big campus across the street”. I myself have heard this phrase 1,000,000+ times and even though it can sound redundant at times, it couldn’t be more true! In fact, this was indeed one of the reasons that I had decided to spend my college years here. Being a sister school to a bigger university is great because you can join all of their clubs, take their classes and even try out for their intramural sports. However, you can still have a smaller, more intimate classroom setting throughout the week. I myself have taken advantage of that recently. This year, my roommate and I had signed up for the fundraising club Irish Fighting for St. Jude while at the activities fair at Notre Dame last month. My roommate had talked highly of it all last year and over the summer that I decided to join her for this year’s session and I fell in love with it. Every Wednesday night, I take the bus to Notre Dame around 8:20 to meet my roommate “D” outside of Washington Hall where she has a dance class. From there, we walk to DeBart, which is a classroom building, to have our weekly meetings. Both Notre Dame and St. Mary’s students run the club and everyone has a great attitude about raising money and getting involved. The group itself has great chemistry and we’re able to bounce ideas off of each other regularly. In terms of events, the club and I host photos taken with Santa, T-shirt sales, and even a concession stand to help raise money for the children’s hospital. One thing that I am very excited for this year is getting more involved with the patients themselves. The club and I are planning on becoming pen pals with the patients and might even plan a trip to the hospital later on this year. Overall, it has been a great way for me to get involved, meet lots of people and make memories along the way. I’m so glad that this year, I decided to take a risk and try something new. 

                                            ~Emily R. ‘17

Windy City Adventures

Last Saturday was definitely one of the highlights of my semester thus far, despite the thermometer reading sub-50 degree temperatures and the wind making wearing a skirt a sad fantasy.  However, dressed (somewhat) warmly in jeans and leather jackets, my roommate, best friend, and parter in crime, Gloria, and I set out for Chicago.  We had procured tickets to see the bluesy, soulful, and talented Ron Pope sing that evening at the famous House of Blues, and therefore we had to jam out to his music the entire drive there. We did feel a little bit lame to be leaving South Bend on College Game Day during a Notre Dame home game, but hey, neither of us has season tickets anyway, and RON POPE.  Enough said. We spent a couple hours before the concert enjoying the city, and let’s be honest, we really just wanted to hit up our favorite food places.  Our first stop was Gino’s East, for some delicious deep dish pizza.  I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve been craving and dreaming about this pizza for months, but it was SO good.

Then, we walked the Loop, stopping in stores to shop and mainly just warm up, and we made our way to Sprinkles.  If you haven’t been there, it’s a tiny gourmet cupcake shop.  You can go inside and order, or you can go to their super awesome cupcake ATM.  Yup, that’s right, a cupcake ATM.  We went inside, and Gloria got two Red Velvets and I got a Banana Dark Chocolate and a Coconut - Mmmm!  

Eventually we made our way to the House of Blues, and we ended up near the front of the line, so we were standing two rows back from the stage.  After two amazing opening acts, Ron Pope came out and gave us the performance of a lifetime.  He sang for about an hour and a half, and he proved to be one of those artists that is just as good live as recorded!  A kind woman let us go to the very front row, and Ron Pope put a photo on Instagram of the crowd, and you can clearly see Gloria and I in the very front row!

We listened to him the whole ride home as well, of course, and we could not stop gushing to everyone about how wonderful that entire day had been!  I am so fortunate to live so near to such an amazing city.

- Deirdre O. ‘16 



I want some s’more!

Do you like s’mores? How about churros, popcorn, apple cider, or hot chocolate? If you answered yes to any of these things, you would have loved the bonfire that the SDB (the Student Diversity Board) threw this past week. I walked over with my friends J, M, and N, to see what it was all about and instantly knew I was in a good place. As a kid I went camping a lot. Many of my family vacations culminated in roasting marshmallows and waking up the next morning covered by the aroma of a smokey bonfire. So naturally when I saw the bonfire in the soccer field I felt at home instantly, and it brought me back to the memories of all of my childhood days sitting around the campfire. This time, I was with a different family- my Saint Mary’s family. Here are J, M, and N, patiently posing for a picture!


There were booths set up for several of the campus organizations offering info and gear like stickers and buttons. After making the rounds my friends and I headed to the food. When there’s free food, we will come. Especially if that free food includes hot chocolate, warm apple cider, s’mores, and popcorn. The cozy, lively atmosphere was a great inauguration into the month of October. The bonfire was big enough that people abandoned any attempt to stand by the fire while making s’mores, and instead they stuck their roasting sticks into the ground and left the preciseness of the roasting to luck.


In addition to the lovely autumn themed festivities, there was a stage set up adjacent to the fire where various entertainers performed throughout the night. Several groups came to sing, and a dance group performed Irish step dances, much to my excitement. I had never seen Irish step in person before, and it was a joy to witness! The phrase “tight knit community” comes up often when Saint Mary’s is being described, and for good reason. I think it’s thanks in part to the wonderful activities that are constantly taking place that give us the opportunity to bond with and meet other Belles. Thanks to the SDB for hosting, and happy October!




Soccer Game


The University of Notre Dame had a mens soccer game against VCU and it was definitely had everyone on the edge of their seats. It was a game you had to watch from start to finish, it went back and forth. Close call after close call; it could have gone either way. Both teams came close to scoring on multiple occasions. But, in the end, Notre Dame came out on top. It was a win that snuck up on everyone and had the energy throughout the stadium running wild. I have never been so excited and fired up. Also, lets not forget about the energy seeking always ready for a game or two lovely and talented cheer squad. They kept the energy pumping and the audience involved.


The end of the game was an exciting one soccer player Nick Besler scored the winning goal in the 107th minute of the game; snatching up the victory.

LaQoia, Class of 2018



The Roommate

     As an only child, I have never had to share a room with anybody and the thought that I would be sharing a room with a stranger for the next year of my life terrified me. When I received the email regarding roommate selection, I immediately scoured the website known as eRezlife – or for roommates, as we so cleverly call it– in search of the perfect roommate. As the deadline drew nearer, I hadn’t found anyone that had complemented my specific values and beliefs. One evening, I decided to mindlessly browse through potential roommates one last time before surrendering to a randomly selected roommate. I then stumbled upon a bio that read, “I have the same personality type as Jennifer Lawrence. What else can there be?” I was immediately intrigued because who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence?! I sent a friend request, and after being approved, messaged her on Facebook. Imagine a super awkward young teenage boy attempting to talk to a girl for the first time. This is exactly how messaging a potential roommate is: awkward, intimidating, and nerve wracking. Unsure of what to say, I began, “Hey, your profile looked really cool, and I just wanted to get to know you better!” I know, terribly akin to a dating site. Luckily, we discovered through the awkwardness that we had common interests and values. We were able to meet up at a Starbucks (since we’re both local students) before deciding that we wanted to room together.

     There are many factors that contribute to getting along with your roommate or not, but I believe that some of the main ones are communication, understanding, and compromise. Our dorm, Regina, is set up in a way that we each have our own bedroom and share a common room. I personally believe that this set up helps cultivate our friendship because we’re not always together and we have our own personal space – especially if one roommate wants to have friends over and the other one has an exam in the morning. Another reason I believe that we work so well together as roommates is our common values and beliefs. When I began my search, I had a list of values that I intended to stick by. Luckily, my roommate, Gabi, had the same list. Lastly, we are not afraid to let the other one know when we’re upset about something. In our roommate agreement, we had to predetermine what we would say when bringing up a concern or disagreement. We decided that we would begin a confrontational conversation with the phrase, “yo, yo, yo.” As ridiculous as this sounds, it helps lighten the mood so much and it enables us to work out our disagreements quickly and easily.

     Although we’ve only lived here for a little over a month, my roommate and I have become great friends. I’ve shared countless nights of laughter with Gabi, but also countless pieces of advice from “Auntie Gabs.” No matter how busy our schedules may be that day, Gabi and I have developed fun routines to ease the stress of class work. Whether it is banana breaks from studying, ghost hunting, Wednesday Night Billiards, or Thursday Morning Breakfast, there’s hardly ever a dull moment with us. I am extremely fortunate to have such an amazing roommate; she has definitely made my first year one to remember.


                                        Notre Dame vs. Rice 


                                            Volleyball game

     My advice for future Belles when picking a roommate would be to stick to your values and don’t give up; you will find your Gabi. I know that not everyone becomes best friends with their roommates, and that’s okay; she doesn’t have to be your roommate! The amount of opportunities to make friends on campus and get involved is so abundant that you can’t help but find your best friends here at Saint Mary’s.


-Tori ‘18



My future with SMC

Well, let’s be honest: I never thought that as a sophomore this is where I would be. As of this year, my official major is in English Literature with a minor in Secondary Education. I’m very excited about this decision because for the first time in a while, I feel as though I have made the right decision regarding my education. For me, a major in English opens lots of exciting possibilities. In the future, I can pursue anything with this degree including law, teaching, or even journalism. However, it’s my minor in Secondary Education that really has been enjoyable these past few weeks. With education and I, the sky is the limit. One day, I’d love to teach high school English and then go on to get my masters and maybe even my doctorate to hopefully become a college professor somewhere in the future. Right now, I’m currently taking an education course titled English 201. What’s great about this class is not only do we learn about different teaching strategies, lesson planning and what affects teachers, but we also get to classroom observe/student teach as sophomores! At other institutions, this is unheard of. What’s really helpful about the education program here at Saint Mary’s is the school’s ability to get you fully immersed in that field as quickly as possible. This is really beneficial because for students who may think they would like a particular field, they can actually practice fully in this field and then decide the outcome from there. Also, if a student at Saint Mary’s decides that this is not the field for her, she has plenty of time to back out while still being on track for graduation. For me, I must have 30 hours of observing/assistant teaching at the local high school by the end of the semester. During my first day last Tuesday, I really got to learn a lot. It was refreshing to be able to sit in a classroom and not worry about taking notes on the material being taught but instead take notes on how the students reacted to that material. The students were engaging and had many different personalities and they were all excited to learn and connect. Even though I’m a long way from having my whole life figured out, I doubt if I’ll EVER get there, I’m so far very content with the path I’m currently on and that’s something that not a lot of college students today can say.

              ~Emily R. ‘17



Spirit Week

Last week was spirit week at Saint Mary’s College, and it brought out the best and most competitive sides of students here.  It brought out the best because we got to show our love for our school and build community with our fellow students, and the most competitive because everyone wanted an ADORABLE Spirit Week t-shirt.  They are ordinary cotton shirts, but the quote makes it for us, for it reads “Here are to the nights that turned into mornings, with the friends that turned into sisters.” *Cue sobbing*.  They remind you of all the amazing, fun, unforgettable memories made with friends over the years.  Sometimes I pause to think that these girls, who truly are my soul sisters, were strangers to me, absolutely unknown, up until two years ago.  So much has changed since I drove down the Avenue on move in day, and I would not change a thing.  


This past weekend was definitely one for the books as far as making new memories goes.  On Saturday morning, a huge group of Smicks and I painted war marks on our cheeks and headed over to Notre Dame for the first annual Pro-Life 5k! It was so much fun to support a cause we are all passionate about together, and we had so much fun getting a fun workout in together.  Plus, who doesn’t love adorable t-shirts?  Our Holy Cross College friends ran the entire race in a banana suit and the Basil costume, the mascot of Holy Cross. 

Sunday morning dawned clear and beautiful.  I got to go to mass at the Church of Loretto with my friend Bethany, eat brunch at the dining hall, and then go apple picking with my friends!  We went to a nearby farm in Michigan, and it was so much fun to select our own apples, frolic about the farm, and do what we do best, have a photo shoot!

I love my SMC family so much my heart could burst.  These girls are my rocks, and we are each other’s supporters and cheerleaders.  How did I get so blessed?  This Gratitude Monday, I am grateful for these friends that turned into sisters!

- Deirdre O. ‘16