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St Lawrence University

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Date: May 19 2015
Major: Psychology (This Major's Salary over time)
I don't think I necessarily fit the mold as the stereotypical St. Lawrence student during my years there, but I feel that my undergraduate education was a positive experience overall.

Academically, there are plenty of opportunities for rigorous studies here. I majored in Psychology and took a double minor in Modern Languages and Global Studies (would have double-majored instead with one of the minors, had I not overworked myself during my senior year—ah, well!), and I was plenty busy with coursework and projects in my chosen fields. SLU is a liberal arts school, so you're encouraged to take classes outside of your major, which, one, helps you to keep from falling into tunnel-vision mode about your future, and, two, expands your knowledge base—this is something that will benefit you even in the long run, once you've graduated from SLU entirely.

My experience with the psychology department was very, very, very positive. We had wonderful professors and a healthy breadth of classes to choose from; if child psychology is where your interests lie, there's plenty of resources for you. If you're more interested in abnormal psych, social psych, biology and psych—trust me, you'll be right at home. I never once encountered a professor that I felt was incompetent at SLU, and most are very approachable and genuinely want you to succeed in their classes. Don't be afraid to approach professors after class—and not just if you're having difficulties! Making these connections can really open up doors for your future—you could potentially pitch a research idea to a professor that could end up being the catalyst to making your ideas come to life. While, again, most of my experience lies with the psych department, I am fairly confident that this is a characteristic of many professors here. One of my very favorite professors was from the government department—he encouraged me to take some seemingly random high-level economics seminar after I took an intro class with him on international economics and ended up SO very happy that I did. Long story short—take chances with your education while you're here and surrounded by so much academic support! I pursued a Master's degree in psychology right after graduating, and I felt very prepared thanks to my previous coursework and internships I was able to participate in while I was a student.

Socially, I had a decent time at SLU. We were required to live on campus for all four years unless we had family in the surrounding areas, and honestly, the on-campus experience wasn't all that bad. Canton IS a very tiny town in a relatively isolated area of upstate New York. If you have a car, more opportunities will be open to you—like traveling over to Potsdam or having the ability to go to a mall or something along those lines. I did not have a car, and thus stayed on campus most of the time unless a friend [with a car] had planned a trip to Canada or elsewhere nearby. Canada is VERY accessible from where SLU is. Ottawa is a fun city that I'd highly encourage everyone to visit at least once while they're in the north country. On campus, there are MANY ways to get involved. I can't remember the number of on-campus organizations that I joined, but basically, if you have an interest, there's probably an existing club for it, and if not, you have an opportunity to create your own club if you can find other students who would support its formation.

A lot of people are addressing alcohol use here, and, yes, it is present. Since graduating, I've since worked solely in higher education, and I can pretty strongly attest that this is not something unique to SLU. This is not a land of raging alcoholics, trust me. Students do drink, like to party, etcetera—but because academics are so rigorous here, a lot of students who overindulge end up leaving early on or reevaluating their social life in the grand scheme of

Well, if I drink this much, I'm probably not going to be able to graduate on time, and it's very expensive to go here. So I should probably tone it down a bit.
I wasn't one to drink a whole lot, but I did see a number of my friends and classmates go through this process and end up fine in the end—with successful careers now to boot. As they always say, moderation is key. I like how another reviewer put it—if you don't drink, you won't really get pressured to do so (at least, I didn't encounter this), but do realize that many students will be drinking and there are frequent parties on weekends where alcohol consumption is a thing.

One GIANT recommendation I'd give students is to 100% absolutely-if-you-can study abroad during your time at SLU. There are SLU-hosted programs as well as other opportunities (such as ISEP) that can help get you into countries where a SLU-established program might not exist. The time I spent abroad was so, incredibly valuable—an enriching experience that gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people, visit amazing places, and interact with a culture in a way that is very difficult to do when you're not a college student. Investigate your options, put some good sweat-and-tears into your application to go abroad, and make it a priority to go. You will not regret it!

To sum it all up, you don't need to be a stereotypical "preppy, party student" to fit in at SLU. While it's not the most diverse of campuses, I made an effort to connect with as many classmates as I could—I met plenty of friends from the US and abroad, had wonderful academic experiences, encountered a number of opportunities for employment on-campus (if there's a department accepting student workers that's in line with something you might want to do as a career in the future, definitely try to get a position there! TRUST ME, my on-campus work at SLU has opened up MANY doors for me, career-wise), got involved with enough clubs to keep me busy (it's possible to be busy in the middle of nowhere!), and definitely do not regret my decision to attend this school.

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