One of our tour guides, Sam Urbino, has a big confession to make: she didn't fall in love with Siena on her first campus visit. (Gasp! We know...) But the Buffalo, NY native was determined to get as far away as possible from the cold weather. "Snow was up to my ankles. Throughout my tour, I just kept thinking, I don't want to go here," she said. So what happened?
Her mom, who loved the school, encouraged her to come back for a second tour a few months later. And that's when Sam, now a sophomore majoring in social work (with a minor in international studies and psychology), fell for the college. There's a lesson right there: revisits are important!
So what about that second tour made you realize Siena was the place for you?
When I came back for a second tour in April, everyone was outside on the academic quad playing Frisbee and football, and Hennepin Square was filled with students listening to music and playing Kan-Jam. This may sound cheesy, but it looked like the colleges you see in the movies—a place where everyone is happy and in a big community. And that was something I really loved (and still do love) about Siena.
You went on a service trip your freshman year, right? What was that like?
Yeah! I actually went on two service trips my freshman year to Nicaragua and Jamaica. They were both so life changing. Nicaragua (pictured here) was really the trip that inspired me to change my major from forensic psychology to social work. We got to work with little kids who grew up in a dump. Their parents had worked in the dump collecting food and materials to survive. Seeing the look in their eyes when we held them made me realize that I wanted to help kids like them. It eventually led me to the plans I have now for the future: Peace Corps for two years after I graduate, then eventually work somewhere with child protection services either in the U.S. or internationally.
What are you looking forward to right now?
I recently just got accepted into a program to go to Africa for three weeks in January, so I am beyond excited about that!
Now that you're a tour guide for Siena, what's something you wish you could tell prospective students ahead of time—before they take a tour?
Look at what you want in a college before you go on a tour, and do some research. Don't go on a college tour expecting to learn everything about the school. Do some searching on your own before and after, whether it's visiting the website, looking at events the town offers or checking out the college's social media pages. While on a tour, you do get the overview of what the campus is like...but if you want to learn all there is to know about Siena, you'd be here for at least a day! So no matter what school you tour, figure out if it might be a good fit for you beforehand.
Have any other advice for students interested in Siena?
Don't be afraid to talk to other Siena students, new and old! Siena is such a small campus that you will see the same people each day, so get to know them. I always tell my tours that if you end up coming to Siena, make sure you say 'hi' to me because there is a 99 percent chance that you will see me around campus. Also, get to know your class because they are the ones that go on this four-year journey with you!
Finish this sentence: You know you're a Siena student when...?
You don't want to go home! I thought being away from my family was going to be hard, but it's the opposite! Don't get me wrong...when I am having a really stressful week or see pictures of family and friends getting together back home, I miss the comforts of Buffalo. But Siena and the people here make it hard to leave. I honestly couldn't picture spending four years anywhere else.
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