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You’re a Belle now, too

Sarah Vabulas | Saturday, August 20, 2005

You’re here. You’re in college. I’ll bet you can’t believe it’s actually happening. I remember I didn’t and actually, I still don’t believe it and I’m definitely in denial that my friends and I are seniors.

I’d love to be in your shoes knowing what I know now about college and how to make the experience the most fulfilling and exciting time of my life. I’m not an expert, but I’d like to think I could offer a little advice.

Coming to Saint Mary’s is the best decision you’ve ever made in your life. I was so nervous about attending an “all-girls’ school,” or as I’ve noticed myself saying all the time now, an all-women’s college. Saint Mary’s is 700 miles from my home and I didn’t know anyone else when I made my decision to attend. I had no idea what going to a single-sex school would be like and I had second thoughts constantly about my choice. However, as I’ve come to learn during these past three years, Saint Mary’s has the best students in the whole world and I have the best friends in the whole entire world – no, seriously, I do. Every Saint Mary’s woman has a different gift or talent to offer to the school – well, I’m still figuring out mine – and I encourage you to seek out as many as possible. I am who I am now because of Saint Mary’s. I have confidence in myself and I have true friends that I will love and treasure forever.

One of the great things about Saint Mary’s is that you don’t have to go out to have fun. Going to parties and to the bars can be a great time, but it’s not necessary. I had planned on going out to Corby’s on Wednesday night, but I opted to hang out with one of my best friends and my roommate in Opus instead. I had so much more fun laughing and telling stories about our summers. These are the moments I’ll remember forever.

Don’t feel pressured to drink. Most of the time it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – especially when you wake up to an incredible hangover or spend all night with your new friend John and aren’t even breaking parietals. You don’t have to drink to be “cool.” I’m sure many of you view college as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. While you’re right, it doesn’t mean you have to become a completely different person. You are who you are for a reason and you can’t forget that. So if you came to college saying that you’re not going to drink, stick to your guns. Remember what is important to you and keep your priorities straight.

There are people on campus to help you along the way in any endeavor. Right from the start, Saint Mary’s sets you up with upperclasswomen to help your transition: your RAs and Orientation Counselors. But you can approach any woman on this campus and I’d guess they’d be more than willing to talk. I know I’d love to.

Use Notre Dame to your advantage. The University offers different classes and activities and you should take advantage of it. Eat in the dining hall at least once on a football Friday and soak it up. It doesn’t get much better than a Notre Dame home football weekend.

But most of all, be proud that you’re a Saint Mary’s Belle. Don’t worry what anyone says about your choice to go to school here. It’s a wonderful and beautiful place and I’m so glad I took a chance and spent my college career here.

Sarah Vabulas is a senior communication studies major from Atlanta who, despite spending the summer in Washington, D.C. interning at The Washington Times, still has no idea what she wants to do when she graduates in May. She has the best boyfriend, roommates and friends, even if they make fun of her for working so hard at The Observer. She can’t wait for the Navy vs. Notre Dame game since it’ll be the 42nd time the Irish pummel the Naval Academy, the alma mater of her incredibly cute Naval officer boyfriend. Contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.