Student Profile

Katherine Diaz

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

I was in Upper Bound, and I went on a lot of college trips with my advisor. Upper Bound is a group for students that are struggling to figure out what they want from education, and if they want to go to college. They do college classes in the summer; I took psychology and pop culture. It helps students advance in their classes, as well as find themselves and what their passions are. We visited St. Mike’s three times, and every time I felt like it was super welcoming and homey. I kept hearing about how green the school was, too, and I feel like all schools should be as environmentally conscious as St. Mike’s is. Then I was thinking about what I wanted, and I knew I didn’t want to be in New York anymore. I’m more of a country person, I like the quiet. St. Mike’s offered me a full ride scholarship as well, and I just knew that was a great opportunity that I should take advantage of. So I did, and I’m happy I’m here.

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

Well, even though I’ve only been here for a couple months so far, I got tired of dining hall food. So when Mo St. Louis invited a bunch of people to his house for dinner, I was like, I’m going. It was really fun to eat and talk and dance with a bunch of people that I’ve gotten to know over the semester. The bus ride was hectic, everyone was singing songs and it was super loud, but it was so much fun. Mo’s a great guy. When you’re around him, you definitely feel comfortable and at home.

Do you have a favorite class so far?

My favorite class is definitely my art class, even though I have to walk a mile to north campus to get to it. It’s very relaxing. Professor Brnar is a great person to talk to. She recognized that I didn’t sound like a New Yorker, so we got to talk a little bit about my original home in Tennessee, which was cool.

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

When I came to college, I was expecting that it would be super hard and the professors wouldn’t talk to me, but here it’s totally different. All the professor are really nice. I came from a public school where classes were huge and I never really got to know my teachers. I was just trying to survive and get the grade and that was it. Here, the professors are really interested in you.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to talk to my friends most of the time. The friends I made over SOAR have been great people to hang out with. SOAR is a great program, I suggest everyone do it. They’re always active and talking about different topics, so we always have great conversations. When I need to focus and get work done, I like to stay in my room, or go to the elevator room on the third floor of Dion. I also like to just be with myself and meditate, or go for walks in the gardens. I recently realized that there’s a Piano on the second floor of McCarthy that students have access to, so I’m going to start going there and practicing in my spare time.

What’s it like for you coming to Vermont from New York City?

The people here are very warm and clean cut, but back in New York it’s all jagged edges and people are cold. You get desensitized to it, and you just feel kind of gray. I always stayed in my house and never went out, but here I’m always outside. That’s something that’s very different. It actually reminds me a little bit of Tennessee, where I first lived. I was a child when I lived in Tennessee, but I remember I was always outside, chasing my chickens or playing with my dog. It almost feels more like home here than it does in New York. I definitely miss my family, but I don’t miss New York. It’s amazing up here. This is a real community.

What got you interested in the sciences?

I’ve always been interested in the ways of life. When I was a kid, I always had a bunch of pets. I love animals, and I find the way life and everything is changing in our environment really interesting. I’m always thinking about what’s going on in my surroundings. When I went to high school, I took advanced science classes, and I enjoyed them. I’ve just kind of always loved science.

What was the transition into college like for you? Did you face any challenges?

It was definitely difficult. I felt like I wasn’t prepared at all, and that none of what I did in high school prepared me for college. I later realized I was wrong, but I was just overwhelmed at the time. I kept a lot of my feelings internalized, which it isn’t a good thing to do. I overcame that struggle by deciding to talk to someone. I spoke to Heidi at Community Enrichment Center, and she was a very nice lady. She was like a mother figure for me. She hugged me, and I really needed that hug. I just dumped all my negative thoughts and energy on her, but she was able to withstand it, and that really helped. So I would suggest talking to people that you feel like you can trust if you’re struggling with the transition in your freshman year.

Any advice for people going through the college process right now?

Well first, eat, sleep, drink water, and just take good care of yourself. Then think about what it is that you want. If you come to college, you want a degree, so prioritize your studying and your education. Make to do lists, and prioritize what’s most important and what should come first. That’s a great way to stay organized.

What do you want to say about the community here?

The community here is great. These people are just very nice, I don’t know how else to describe it. Everyone is extremely helpful. If you go to someone and ask a question and they don’t know the answer, they will find someone who knows the answer with you. People are willing to stay with you, and talk and listen to you. Everyone’s a good listener, and extremely understanding. It’s unbelievable to me.

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