I remember being at a mixer during freshman year—relishing the joy of being in college at WashU, making new friends, and finding belonging. During a longer conversation I engaged in that evening, I realized the students I was talking to were second semester seniors. They seemed so much older to me at the time, more mature, and that wisdom felt far away from where I was standing. After asking them what it was like to be a senior, they responded by telling me I was so lucky to be a freshman, lucky to be at the beginning of it all. They said I should enjoy it and I promised I would.
Now, as a second semester senior, I have certainly lived up to my promise.
Recently, I was given a chance to relive that freshman experience on the other side. At a Sam Fox event, a freshman asked me if I would still choose WashU after these past four years. My short answer was yes.
My long answer was yes, because…
Because WashU ignited my passion for communication design. Art had always been a beloved pastime of mine but it was under the guidance of the professors and camaraderie with an outstanding group of peers that I learned to love typography, illustration, and the project research.
Because at WashU I found enduring friendships with creative, fun, and caring people. Friends that I could go on picnics with in Forest Park, meet at the gym for early morning yoga, and explore coffee shops with on Sunday afternoons.
Because WashU supported me with a group of people who always made time to provide me with encouragement, constructive critique, and a maybe morning muffin while I muddled through midterms weeks. Professors, advisors, and even the baristas I saw every morning at Parkside are all people I felt invested in my success at WashU and beyond.
Because WashU educated me with creativity and joy–from Italian speaking classes that took place in a professor’s kitchen over pasta making to throwing Halloween parties complete with poppers, glow in the dark skeletons, and stickers in a writing class.
Because WashU showed me how to write for me and not just for class. To make draft after draft, editing and improving each paragraph, each sentence, for the joy of language. Through my classes, I discovered what a simple essay could become with dedicated revision.
Because WashU encouraged me to fall in love with St. Louis. From design projects that encouraged exploration to a simple desire to get out on the weekends, WashU has introduced me to St. Louis. Throughout my time at WashU, I’ve grown to adore this city over dates watching fireworks at balloon glow, gazing at glittering evergreens at garden glow, roasting s’mores at zoo lights, laughing at comedy shows at the Pageant, hiking in Castlewood, and picnicking on campus.
Because being a student at WashU has been an incredible experience for me. My friends, my professors, and advisors often heard me say that there has never been a day at WashU where I wanted to be anywhere else… and it’s still true. I went to bed every night grateful (Which is easy to do when you’re falling asleep on a memory foam mattress!!) Over these past four years, WashU gave me everything I needed: wonderful friends, exciting experiences, engaging classes, delicious food, adventurous exploration, and so much more. It made me feel as though I belong. It gave me a new place to call home.
That’s why I’d still choose WashU.