Student Profile

Mariah Mansur

What brought you to Saint Michael’s College, and how did you make your decision?

I first heard about Saint Michael’s college through the Book Award. Then I started looking into it, and it was a small, liberal arts school, which was exactly what I was looking for. Then when I came here, I just kind of fell in love with the community, and how loving and supportive it was.

What’s one incredible memory or experience that you’ve had here so far?

I’ve been volunteering to do open houses, and at one point I was talking to a prospective student who wanted to major in neuroscience. It always make me really excited when people have similar interests as me, and I ended up showing him and his mother around all the science labs. I just get so excited about our science department here; the labs are so nice, and there’s so much opportunity.

Have you had a favorite class so far?

Yes, my First Year Seminar, the Examined Life. We read a lot of different memoirs, and our class members have started sharing a lot of personal things with each other about their own lives. We all feel very close to one another. It’s a really open, safe space when you walk into that classroom. It’s really nice to see that even a group of people that have only been here for a couple months can already feel like family.

Have you had a favorite professor, or a person you’ve met here that had a positive impact on you?

My academic advisor, Professor VanderKaay Tomasulo, has been incredible. I remember my first few weeks of school were very overwhelming. I was feeling stressed, so I sent her an e-mail, and she was like “well I’ve left my office, but If you want to talk right now I can call you, or we can have a meeting tomorrow”. She was great at making herself available, and was so willing to help.

Has your experience at St. Mike’s been different than what you were expecting?

I think college in general is a really big transition, and just getting into a new routine with so many new people can be really difficult. That being said, I was surprised by how easy it actually was to make friends here. You tend to gravitate towards people that have similar interests as you, whether you realize it or not.

Why made you decide to major in neuroscience?

I’ve always been really fascinated with the brain, and the way that people think and interact with each other. I want to go into the clinical side of neuroscience. I’d really like to work with kids, and make an impact in that way.

How have you made St. Mike’s your home away from home?

Just by finding people that feel like family, and trying to get involved on campus as much as possible. I sign up for things on the MOVE board when I can – I went on the freshman apple picking trip, and I’m going to volunteer for the senior citizen prom. It’s really about finding things on campus that you’re passionate about to make your own.

What was the transition into college like for you?

For me, I didn’t think it was going to be difficult. Then when I got here I realized how hard it actually was to be away from home and away from everything that was familiar. But there are so many people on campus that offer great support to the first years – like upperclassmen that a met through the pre-orientation weekend program, or my academic advisor. Getting advice from students that had gone through it all before was the most helpful thing for me. For example, I’m not one who talks on the phone much, but upperclassmen suggested that I try calling my family or my friends from home more. Now I talk to my best friend on the phone every other week, and I call my Dad from time to time. It’s doing things that maybe you’re not used to doing, but that make you feel like you’re still close to home.

Any advice for prospective students about the college process?

I think one of the hardest parts of the college application process is when you finally get all those decisions back, and you have to make your own choice. It’s hard to choose what home is going to be. I think the most important thing is to choose a place and an environment that you feel comfortable in, because if you feel comfortable you’ll be more successful. Don’t pick a school because of the name or the prestige; pick a school that has good academics, but also feels like home.

What do you want to say about the community at St. Mike’s?

I find it interesting how much the upperclassmen are willing to watch out for the first years to make sure that their transition is going smoothly, and even be there for you as a source of support beyond that, if you ever have questions or just want to talk to someone. Sometimes you become friends with upperclassmen, which is really nice. There’s really no separation by grade, everyone is just kind and family-oriented toward each other.

What’s one thing that you’ve learned during your time here that surprised you, inspired you, or had an impact on you in some way?

Maybe it’s just a part of getting older, but I feel like I just keep learning how much bigger the world is and how different people’s perspectives on things can be. But despite having different opinions, people can really engage in a dialogue, and you can really learn from someone that has a different opinion from you. Small class sizes here allow for great discussions, where you can really see that.

What are some important goals you have for yourself?

I would say my first goal is always to be happy, and maintain happiness. I’d like to find a job that makes me happy – something that doesn’t feel like work, but feels like what I’m meant to be doing. For the short term, in college, I would say my most important goal is to be open to new experiences and opportunities.

So what’s one thing that makes you happy?

People. I like hearing about different people’s perspectives and learning about the world through their lenses. I really enjoy getting to hear different things that people have gone through in their lives and how that has impacted them.

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