student, Valedictorian, elms college, 2023, elms, western ma

Communication Science and Disorders
Class of 2023, co-Valedictorian.
Attending Southern Connecticut State University Graduate School

The first time I came to Elms College and set foot on the campus, I felt as if this was going to be my second home.

It was just a welcoming, warm feeling. The campus is such a small community with a welcoming faculty and staff. It just felt like I was at the right place. I’ve had such a great time here with so many great opportunities. I don’t think I could picture myself going anywhere else for an undergraduate education.

I had never really heard of Elms before. The sister of one of my friends came here but I didn’t think anything about it. But then in high school, I was recruited to play lacrosse here. So I looked into the college, and once I learned that its Communication Science and Disorders Program was highly ranked, that was very good. It definitely drew me here.

Some of the other schools I looked at were much bigger than Elms. A deciding factor for me was I wanted one-on-one attention from my professors instead of being just a number in a classroom. It’s been awesome. It’s been better than I expected. I’m so close to all the faculty. I’ve been working one on one with all the Communication Science and Disorders faculty this entire year. It’s been amazing.

I’ve had a lot of good opportunities with my major. I’m doing my practicum during my senior year. I’m getting 100 hours of clinical experience, working at an elementary school as a speech pathologist working with kids. There’s only one other college in New England other than Elms that offers that. My goal is to get a job as a speech pathologist at a hospital working with children who have trouble swallowing.

I never set out to be valedictorian. I didn’t think about it much over my 4 years as an undergraduate. I just kept to myself, did my work, and tried to get good grades. I sure wasn’t aiming to become valedictorian; I just wanted to make sure I kept my GPA up for when I applied to grad school. It was very hard and very challenging work. I spent countless hours in the library studying. I’m the type of person who has to study. I can’t just wing it and go into an exam and expect to get a good grade. I have to put the hard work into it. So I spent a lot of time figuring out how to be organized, using my planner and things like that to stay on top of assignments. It’s been very hard work.

In addition to classes, I’m also on the lacrosse team. I’ve been captain since my sophomore year and I loved it. Rather than being a distraction from my studies, I’ve found lacrosse to be a good outlet to de-stress. I look forward to going to lacrosse practices and games as a way to get away from worrying about schoolwork. The Elms Athletic Department is just like the college where it is very small but welcoming. They have a lot of resources, and everyone knows everyone. We know all the coaches and the coaches know all of us by name. We stay up to date on each other’s games and wins and losses.

It’s exciting to start the next chapter of my life but also it’s sad to close this chapter. I’ve made great friendships and had great relationships with my peers and my professors. Graduation is definitely a bittersweet moment. A great thing about Elms is all the relationships you make are lasting. You know that you can contact anyone here and they will respond.

My biggest advice to anyone in high school trying to choose a college would be not to stress about it. Just think about your pros and cons, and at the end of the day think about what will make you the happiest. Don’t worry so much about the cost of tuition or rankings or anything like that. It’s more important to go where can you see yourself thriving and becoming successful as you work toward your future career.