One look out of the car window and I knew: this is where I wanted to go to college. There before me was a majestic stately light-gray cement mansion, Orche Court. My family and I walked through the ornate tall black gate that featured the name of the school in gold lettering: Salve Regina University. Along the drive were perfectly manicured trees in two single file lines. I was giddy, but nervous at the same time.
Located in the middle of Newport off of Bellevue Ave, the campus was beautiful and matched the regal environment. On the tour, the classrooms were bright, inviting young minds to deepen their education. Many of the classrooms had water views, so the professors would even close the blinds to not tempt the students to daydream. One of the cafes also had floor-to-ceiling windows where students could look out over the ocean. Another of the buildings—an art gallery and classrooms, complete with an aged cobblestone floor—was originally a stable. Newport’s history as a Gilded Age estate town can be readily seen in the elaborate former residences that have been repurposed for school use; the Education building, the Student Activities Center, and many of the upperclass dorms were mansions. The campus was welcoming as well as gorgeous; I saw myself going to school here. No other college had given me the sense of connection I felt during that first visit.
The more I researched and spoke to people about Salve Regina, the more I was drawn to the university. Anyone would be swept away from the beauty of the campus and Newport, but I was attracted to the university’s mission of service. I felt for once, that my education was not going to be about me anymore. My learning at Salve wouldn’t be only about getting good grades and work done in and for the classroom. Through service and with others, my experience would go beyond. Salve Regina showed me my life could become something more.
But there was one major obstacle. I was not ready to live away from home, and that might stop me from attending the school of my dreams.