Five years ago, Sacred Heart University was a school I had never heard of that my high school guidance counselor put on my list to check out. That April, my parents and I began my college tour experience and drove to Connecticut to tour it.
Sacred Heart was the first tour I did. I think I might have known that day in April 2016. I just got an initial feeling that I was home and that I belonged here.
Every tour after that, I would say, “Well, it’s not Sacred Heart” and compare every other college tour I went on to Sacred Heart. No other school compared.
Needless to say, a year later in April 2017, I officially committed and my parents put a deposit down at Sacred Heart University.
In August 2017, I moved into Thomas Merton Hall with a lot of ambition and a horrible haircut.
At one point during move in day, my parents and I heard, “PAUL? CINDY?” and it was a childhood friend of mine I have known since I was four who moved away in fifth grade. Turns out, she ended up living three doors down from me in Merton. We have rebuilt our childhood friendship, and she has remained one of my closest friends throughout college. Even in college, the world is so small.
The first semester of freshman year was so pure. I was so excited to be where I was and making new friends. I remember my first frat party. I remember my first meal at Linda’s. I remember my first President’s Gala.
Second semester of freshman year was great. I had an established friend group. I knew my way around more. I was in a few clubs. Toward the end of the semester, one of my new guy friends and I admitted our feelings for each other. Fast forward to two weeks ago, we just celebrated our third anniversary together. From playing “Quiplash” every night in my friends’ room to all the late night JP’s runs to Zumba class at the Pitt, the spring semester of freshman year was where I began to make my mark.
Then, things took a turn. The fall semester of sophomore year was the worst. My established friend group all transferred. I lived in beautiful Berg but with a random roommate I was the polar opposite of. I tried sorority recruitment and left on the last day because it was not for me. I love my alone time, but during those four months, I had too much of it. I spent a lot of time in my room and ate most meals alone.
Possibly one of the only good things to come out of that semester was that I was enrolled in CM 211 with Professor Kabak. The first day of class, I found out I would be writing for the school newspaper. At the time, I had just decided I wanted to pursue something in the School of Communications and Media Arts but still wasn’t sure what area. This class gave me my spark.
Here I am two and a half years later, a journalism major writing my piece for the senior issue, having served as an editor for two years.
Sophomore year spring semester was a complete 360. I studied abroad in Dingle, Ireland. It is easily the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have written an editorial that took up an entire page of The Spectrum about this experience before, so I won’t do that again, but it was just the best. I can’t say enough of how much I love SHU in Dingle.
Fall of my junior year was great. I lived in the grimy Ridge Townhouses with seven other girls, some of whom have become my college besites. Being an upperclassman was so thrilling! I had a lot of friends, I was taking more major classes related to what I wanted to do, I traded the Dingle pubs for frat basements in Bridgeport. I was happy and felt like I had made my mark. The only complaint I had were the shuttles from campus to The Ridge.
What we had of spring 2020 was cool. I luckily turned 21 that February (although, the only time a professor has made me cry was on my 21st, so maybe not luckily) and got to experience Red’s a handful of times. Doing the rest of school from home was challenging. My parents and I designated our cellar as my classroom. I found it hard to focus and be motivated.
Senior year, I moved into a house in Bridgeport with the girls I lived with in The Ridge. It is such an upgrade and truly the first time I have felt like an adult. I was introduced to Trader Joe’s. Even though we didn’t get the senior year we deserve and have been waiting for, we have made the most of it. From our own President Gala, Friendsgiving, going to T.H.C. and Flipside, and all the chill nights in between, we’ve done it all. For that, I am grateful.
I have kept busy during my pandemic senior year. Besides being A&E Editor at The Spectrum, I am president of SHU’s chapter of Her Campus, the Social Media Manager for Sacred Heart’s TV News Program, “The Pulse,” and the editor for Interviews and Internet Culture at Mud Magazine.
This all can be a lot at times, but I am so passionate about it all that I make it work. In a time of such uncertainty, I personally have felt so much purpose.
All of these experiences prove that Sacred Heart was where I found myself. Although I am dreading leaving, I know that SHU has set me up for success. I can’t thank Sacred Heart and every person and experience I have encountered enough.
I also can’t thank my parents enough for providing me this wonderful education and the experiences that have come with it. I would not be the woman I am today without any of it.