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Saint Mary’s seniors share favorite college memories

| Friday, May 19, 2017

With Commencement right around the corner, members of Saint Mary’s Class of 2017 took some time to share their memories and reflect on the experiences they’ve had during their time as a Belle.

Communication studies major Jackie Rooney said one thing she will remember the most about Saint Mary’s is Midnight Breakfast.

“A big one is Midnight Breakfast — what other school does that, you know?” Rooney said. “It’s just so fun, it’s like a party and it’s a great way to de-stress and also come together and celebrate the end of a semester that’s always so fun. It doesn’t matter who you’re sitting next to or who you’re standing by. You dance with everyone.”

Rooney said she and her friends share a special memory they will never forget.

“We do this thing, and we don’t do it often, but we’ve done it a few times and it’s just the best thing in the whole world,” Rooney said. “We park in front of Le Mans [Hall] at night time, and we turn on music and just blare it. We get out of the car, and we just dance in front of Le Mans to the music, and it’s just so fun and it’s magical, and you don’t ever want it to end. It’s a very special moment that I’ll hold forever. And I’m hoping when we come back for our reunions, we’ll still do it.”

Rooney said the friendships she made during her time at Saint Mary’s will stay with her forever.

“Every relationship you have here adds to who you are,” Rooney said. “I have friends that I met abroad. I have friends who live in Ireland who I am still very good friends with. And then my roommate and then a bunch of friends from all walks of life — I think they all add to who you are as a new person coming out of college.”

Communication studies and Italian major Kate Fitzmaurice said that Saint Mary’s has helped her develop confidence.

“Looking back to freshman year, I would have never guessed I would be in the position I am now, and I’m really proud of where I am and my life right now,” Fitzmaurice said. “And I think that, especially through classroom experience and just being in an environment where you are accepted and the girls are there not to judge you and not to compete with you, but really to build you up … that in itself builds confidence.”

Fitzmaurice said her study abroad experience contributed to some of her best memories of her time at Saint Mary’s.

“My love for other cultures stemmed from my time in Rome,” she said. “My friendships that I made in Rome are some of the best friendships that I could have ever asked for. I know those girls are going to be with me until the end of time.”

Nursing major Maggie Carswell said working for Office of Civic and Social Engagement [OCSE] has been hugely rewarding and has provided her with some lifelong memories.

“I’m the student director there, and I’ve been there since my freshman year, and definitely my favorite memories have been through that office,” Carswell said. “Just getting together with my friends and doing some community service, that’s definitely been great because not only do I get to build memories with my friends, I get to help out the community as well.”

Carswell is also class council president and said the events she has put together have been some of her fondest memories.

“Class council is meant to do events for the class, so I’ve been helping them plan events and also parent weekends and we also planned senior week,” she said.

Carswell said one event in particular stood out to her when she thought about her what class council has done.

“I’ve always liked our Galantine’s Day event,” Carswell said. “It’s just meant to celebrate your friendships with all your friends, and it is a night to relax. The event was just in the dorm lounge, and everyone could come, grab some food and write some letters to their friends. I liked the sentiment behind it.”

Megan Carswell, Maggie’s sister and nursing major, said her best memories of Saint Mary’s go back to her first year.

“Freshman year, I switched roommates within the third week, and I moved onto the fourth floor of McCandless [Hall], and right next to me were these two girls, and my roommate and I became really great friends through that year,” Carswell said. “I just have such fond memories of that little corner of McCandless we would always hang out in.”

Megan Carswell also works in the OCSE office and said she is going to miss her friends from the office, along with others she has become close to on campus.

“I think something unique to my Saint Mary’s experience has been the friends I’ve made though the service of this office,” she said. “I don’t want to say I’m going to lose those connections, but it is going to be weird not seeing my boss everyday, seeing my professors all the time and having those really strong mentors and everything right within my reach. And not having my friends close by — I really am going to miss not being close in proximity to my friends.”

Philosophy major Stephanie Villareal said the best memories she has of Saint Mary’s are the times she remembers sitting in the dining hall with friends.

“When you’re in the dining hall with your friends, you’re like ‘OK, we’re just going to go for a very quick meal,’ and then one quick meal that was supposed to take half an hour turns into like three hours,” Villareal said. “And three hours is a long time, but it doesn’t feel like a long time because you’re having a great conversation and a good time not doing anything with the people that you love the most.”

Villareal said she will always remember how open and welcoming the people of Saint Mary’s have been since the very beginning of her time as a student there.

“Freshman year, I lived in Holy Cross [Hall] and I remember my parents dropping me off and it was just like a movie,” she said. “They start driving away and I was standing right in front of Holy Cross and I remember just sobbing so much because I had never been this far away from home without knowing anyone. I just remember thinking ‘How am I going to find my place here?’”

The community welcomed her in no time, Villareal said.

“But after two days and meeting new people, what I will remember the most is just feeling completely welcome in a community that I was so new to,” Villareal said. “It’s just the relationships and the people. Saint Mary’s is a very special place, but I think it’s definitely the people that add so much to the environment and the community. It doesn’t compare to anything else. That’s for sure.”

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