The word opportunity comes up a lot when people talk about college.
For many students, college is their opportunity to explore ideas, ancient and new, to figure out what kind of career they will pursue or to learn from great professors who are experts in their fields.
Alumni look back and remember their college years as their opportunity to find lifelong friends, develop interests in various fields and get involved in activities they had never explored before, from lacrosse to crew; from singing in the choir to staging skits in their residence halls.
What combination of circumstances does Saint Mary’s provide that students might not get at other colleges? Small class sizes allow students to really get to know their professors and classmates. Around the tables in Seminar classes, students participate meaningfully in discussions about the Great Books of Western civilization, from epic poems, philosophy and history to art, government and science.
SMC undergraduate students have access to more science labs and can work with professors on research projects, an opportunity that is limited to graduate students at many other colleges. The talented and dedicated faculty’s primary passion is teaching. An increasingly diverse student body means that individuals hear many perspectives from fellow classmates that may be very different from their own, and prove valuable in enriching their understanding of texts and concepts.
Saint Mary’s also offers a number of “living learning communities” in residence halls that bring together students with shared interests or study areas. A science community in Assumption Hall allows students to study calculus, chemistry or other science fields together in a quiet area with help from mentors. Lasallian and Santiago communities are rooted in the themes of faith, service and community life, while an honors community lets honors students live and study together while engaging in enrichment activities that may include the San Francisco Symphony, plays or major league baseball games.
There are also plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities, whether a student is interested in sports, community service, social justice, music or clubs devoted to their major, whether accounting or pre-med; dance or kinesiology.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle once said, “Pray earnestly to God and wait for the best opportunity to present itself.” For many students and alumni, that opportunity came from Saint Mary’s College.
P.S. Be sure to check out the story on Gael basketball player Patrick Mills written for Saint Mary’s magazine by Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. Patty capitalized on his opportunity in August to play in the Beijing Olympics.