Student Profile

Aleksandra Apkarian '20

What brought you to St. Mike’s? How did you choose?

I’m from a really small town in New Jersey, so I was looking to go to a smaller school. I was on a recruiting website for softball looking through schools, and my Mom actually saw St. Mike’s and suggested it. Initially, I was thinking it was going to be too cold for me, but then I came for an overnight visit and I just fell in love with the team. I also got to go to a business class, and I really liked how it was small and the professor knew all the students. That’s what my high school was like, so I immediately loved it. St. Mike’s was my first college visit, and it was the one I compared all the others to, so I knew it was the right place for me.

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

I really liked my first year seminar. I took “The Examined Life”, and during it we each got the opportunity to talk about our lives. At the end we did a huge project, where we all talked about certain experiences that we’ve been through, and it got so emotional that people were crying. It was a really great experience to get that close to so many people. Being on the softball team has also been an incredible experience. Pre-season and fall season we get to go to Florida, so I’m excited for that.

What clubs or activities are you involved with on campus, or are there clubs that you’re hoping to get involved with in the future?

I’m in the honors program, and I’m on the softball team, but I really want to get involved with green up, since I’m an environmental studies major. It’s difficult right now because of softball, but I’m hoping to start with it next fall.

Do you plan on studying abroad?

Yes! I’m hoping to go to New Zealand my sophomore year. They have really good environmental programs there, so I’m looking into that.

What has been your favorite class so far?

Besides my first year seminar, I really like Macroeconomics. It was probably the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my entire life, but my professor was really helpful. She always asked if anyone needed help, and I went to see her during her office hours a lot. I ended up doing really well in the class, so it was really rewarding. Even though in the beginning it was hard, by the end I got really into it.

Do you have a favorite professor?

Definitely Professor Vantine, who taught my first year seminar, and Professor Natarajan, my macroeconomics professor.

Has your experience at St. Mike’s been different than what you expected it to be coming in?

Yes and no. I was definitely expecting the community aspect, because I saw that during my overnight, and it has definitely held up to that. The classes have been a lot harder than I expected, though. I came from a small high school, where you knew all the teachers, and they were your coaches, and it was very much all mixed together. Things are more separate here; obviously my coach isn’t one of my teachers, so it’s been different in that way. That’s really it though. It definitely held up to that standard that I was looking for.

What is it like being part of a team at St. Mike’s? How do you balance academics and athletics?

That’s actually really interesting. I’m really thankful to be on the softball team, I’ve never felt more apart of something. Even though I came from a small town and everyone was close, there was definitely ‘small town drama’, but I don’t experience that here. Everyone is friends with each other, and everyone helps each other. My captain was actually one of the people that tutored me in macroeconomics. There are always people looking out for you and asking how you’re doing. Our coach will ask us if we need to take the day off if we have things we need to do for class, and if we ever have any conflict school always comes first, which makes the balancing easier. It’s just all time management, and figuring out when you can get stuff done. It hasn’t been that bad so far.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I do have time, I like to watch Netflix, hike, snowboard, or hang out with friends.

Where is your favorite place on campus to hang out?

Dion is definitely one of my favorite places to do homework. I hang out on the fourth floor, which we call the birds nest, a lot. I love the view, too. The study rooms in quad commons are also really cool. You can get a great view of the sunsets from there.

Why did you choose to major in what you’re majoring in?

When I was in high school, I was the president of our DECA club. I got to go to nationals three times, which took me to Nashville, Atlanta, and Florida. Being able to travel was a really cool opportunity. I was also in a business ethics program and a community service project based on business, and my experiences with that just made me fall in love with business. I decided to double major with environmental studies because I’m in a class called Environment and Society right now, and I just love it. I chose to minor in political science for law. I love law; I think it’s really interesting. I want to go into environmental corporate law, to kind of combine the three.

Do you feel like St. Mike’s has become your home away from home, and if so, how did it become that for you? How was the transition into college for you?

It definitely has become my home away from home. Even when I’m home, I just can’t wait to come back to school. I call St. Mike’s home when I’m talking to my friends. The sense of community and being on the team helped it become like home much faster for me. Being here just feels so comfortable, even though I’ve only been here for six months. I just fell in love with it really quickly. I actually tested into college my junior year of high school, so I took my senior year of classes at a college in New Jersey and kind of transitioned into college that way. It was definitely weird living away from home for the first time though. I’m six hours way, so I don’t go home often. But I get along really well with my roommate, so that’s helpful. Having her there in the beginning, as well as the team, was really helpful during the transition, because they became like my family.

How is Vermont different from New Jersey? Do you like the area?

I definitely like it here. Growing up in New Jersey, I never realized what other people say about it. It’s definitely very fast paced. Here, everyone is a little bit more relaxed, and open minded about things. It’s like a totally different world, honestly. Everyone’s so nice, and everyone holds door for you, even if they have to wait for you. Teachers here will talk to you about politics and things that might be considered controversial, which would never happen where I’m from. It was a culture shock coming here, but it was a good one.

What would you say to prospective students about the college process, especially those who are considering applying to St. Mike’s?

The best advice anyone gave me was to get things done early. I decided to come to St. Mike’s in October of my junior year, and it made my senior year so much less stressful. Also, I feel like you really have to visit to get the full idea. When you actually step on campus, you get a different kind of feeling than when you just look at pictures. For any college, you just really need to visit, because that’s when you’ll know. 

What do you want to say about the community here, or to your fellow St. Mike’s students?

I just want to say thank you. I don’t think that I would have had this experience at any other school. It’s so cool to be somewhere that just has no parallel to where I’m from. Everyone is so welcoming and so nice, so I just want to thank everyone for that. I can’t wait to spend more time here, and fall in love with it more. 

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