Monday, January 20, 2014

That's so SMC: 5 Unique Qualities of Student Life at Saint Mike's.

In general, Saint Mike's adheres to certain generalities of small school-ship: liberal arts, small classes, personable professors (I love when I can sneak alliteration into a blog post!!!). And on top of all these great things, I find that SMC manages to retain a significant autonomy of identity in the way students "do college" here.

1. Dinnertime? Entire first-year floor descends upon the dining hall.
In my experience, it was more of a challenge to try eating dinner alone than with the whole of my first-year floor (that's men and women--another reason why Joyce 4th was one of the cooler floors my year ;P). It may be the proximity of the dining hall to the first-year quad, or the closeness and excitement of one's first year of school, or maybe first-years at SMC just can't stand to eat without 25 of their closest friends sitting around them in close quarters. Causation aside, it's not a rare thing to see the "long tables" (10-ish people) of the dining hall jam-packed with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first year compadres. They're easy to spot, because about four people will be eating salad or something healthy, and everyone else will have french fries on their plate no matter the main dish they've chosen. I'm kidding, sorta, but it is a heart-warming and nostalgic experience any time I do happen to glimpse this sort of thing in action.
My best friend and room mate Carlos
during an extended Alliot sit.

2. "Alliot sitting."
Ask me or any of my friends, and I guarantee we'd all agree that Alliot Sitting it a top-ten favorite hobby. The art of Alliot sitting might be pursued in any of the following ways: 
  • Extended homework sessions, to which we usually commit 2.5-5 hours of sitting (sometimes across 2 meals or more); drinking coffee, snacking, and chiseling away at our schoolwork. This lasts until we feel satisfied with our accomplishments, or until our pores carry the familiar smell of dining hall and success.
  • People-watching and socializing, especially on the weekends. While this bit is more popular on Saturday and Sunday brunch, it is not uncommon to spot the Procrastinon peoplewatchus during the school week as well.
  • Finally, upperclassmen who live in housing with kitchens (i.e. housing that has a reduced meal plan, unless the student opts-in) might also engage in the extended alliot sit to obtain the most bang-for-buck out of one's restricted (40/semester) swipes. Often, such an upperclassmen might use the above tactics as a guise for such an escapade.
Otherwise, sometimes people just sit in Alliot for a really long time because: (1) there's always food there, and (2) you usually run into more people than you can sit down for a meal with. It's just a really great place to sit.

3. We sleep in the library.
Ideally, not in the middle of studying (but sometimes). There are some days when you've been up since 6, have had class/work/placements/internships/clubs all day, and are sitting in the library at 10pm trying to get some work done. Or, it's finals, and you've simply been in the library since the crack of dawn (or 8am). In any case, Saint Mike's kids sometimes use the Library for catnaps, and it's not a weird thing. I myself find that a post-dinner coffee and 15-20 min library snooze is a great way to perk up for study time after a full day of [insert responsibilities here]. But take caution: it's best to pursue study snoozes when accompanied by a friend/phone alarm (on vibrate!) to wake you back up, lest ye snooze til the lib hath closed.

4. We don't do it by ourselves, and we know it.
My freshman and sophomore year, I have Hida and Harvey to thank for making me breakfast every morning; I owe Dragan, Jim and Gary for driving me to and fro North and Main Campuses every day as a Junior; I couldn't do anything without the support and advice of my peers; and if not for my professors and mentors in a multiplicity of capacities at this school, I'd not have learned nearly as much as I have as a student thus far. My point is that the close relationships I, and many of my peers, make with staff, faculty, and fellow students on campus carry us throughout our college experiences; there's no denying it makes our days brighter when our eggs are ready two minutes after entering the dining hall, or when we have friendly conversation on the bus ride home to North in the evenings. If asked to describe the strong community we claim to have here, I would cite these relationships and experiences as evidence of this phenomenon in my own life.

5. More often than not, we're doing something.
Although the "involved student" stereotype falls into the paradigm of "small liberal arts school", it's a quality I love about SMC, and I feel that we put our own spin on it. In any given circle of friends, there's probably a club president or an SA representative present, and about 70% of students volunteer with MOVE in some capacity before graduating. If nothing else, we know how to take advantage of our time on campus, and since 99% of us live here, that's quite a bit of time.

If you think something should be added to this list, feel free to shoot me an email ( or hit me up on twitter (@benrosbrook). Or for those potential lib-nappers (prospective students), feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or conversations!

Thanks for reading!

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