In 1844, the Sisters of the Holy Cross founded Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. Since then, SMC has grown to be a distinguished women’s liberal arts college. And it is where I will continue my education next year.
I plan on majoring in English and education, and if I could swing a minor in French, I’d be thrilled. SMC is definitely a small liberal arts school, and the staff-to-student ratio is about 10:1. I like smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with teachers, so that statistic thrills me. I could memorize more stats about Saint Mary’s, but I somehow doubt that I’ll ever need to print out party invitations for every single student on campus or take a class on how many students have scholarships. What I know is that it’s small – fewer than 2,000 undergrads. But it’s not like I’m going to run out of people, especially with the university of 12,000 students literally across the street.
For those who don’t know, Saint Mary’s College is indeed the University of Notre Dame’s sister school. This means that, while enjoying my small, female-oriented learning environment, I can also take classes at Notre Dame, attend Notre Dame sporting events, enjoy campus amenities and – as SMC keeps strangely reminding me – join the Notre Dame marching band.
Sadly, I doubt I will be taking advantage of the marching opportunity, owing to my complete tone deafness and bad legs. But I will be definitely watching “Fighting Irish Football,” and I will continue my tradition of picking Notre Dame to win my March Madness bracket (so there’s my pick for anyone who cares about the bracketology of a non-athletic, 17-year-old girl). From what I’ve heard from the SMC freshman Facebook page, and a friend of mine whose three aunts all went to Saint Mary’s, the Notre Dame boys want to date the Saint Mary’s girls. So if you see me in 20 years, I will likely be married to a red-headed engineer.
I’m excited to go to college next year. Finally making my choice has eliminated some of my nerves but also brought on a whole onslaught of new worries. What if everyone is lying about the Notre Dame boys thing, and I never see a Y chromosome in my four years? What if the school is literally too small and I never find any friends? What if, after four years of never failing a class, I fail everything this semester, Saint Mary’s decides to reject me, and I have to attend the University of Failures and Idiots?
I know the only way my questions will be answered will be to go there in the fall, but I still worry. I worry a little more every day, but I know that someday that anxiety will turn into academic eustress. I don’t know where I’m living next year, what classes I’ll be taking, or what I’ll do if I get sick and my mom isn’t there to take care of me.
What I do know is that I am extremely proud and excited to be a member of Saint Mary’s Belles Class of 2017.
• Courtney Phelan is a senior at Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.