Monk Highlight: Abbott Marion

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

Saint Martin’s is known for having an impressive array of clubs and activities, and for having an inviting community. Abbot Marion is a monk who, after extensive time in the community, became Saint Martin’s ninth Abbot. Although known for being a part of the monastery, Abbott Marion enjoys other activities in his free time. He mentions that “besides visiting family and friends, I usually spend my Mondays at the lodge out by the mud bay on campus, reading and studying to work on my doctorate that I had been working on before being elected. So I spend time reading and doing meditation and then talking with some friends and family.”

Abbott Marion officially became the ninth Abbott on August 15, 2020. He discusses what had brought him to Saint Martin’s. “[It was] literally the search of God in my spiritual life. I had been a Priest for the Diocese for eight years and spent another eight years in the Archdiocese Seattle. My work there was really meaningful and brought me a lot of joy. Especially in my six years in Bellingham, where I was both a Pastor for 750 families and the Chaplin with the students at Western Washington University at the Newman Center. I really enjoyed my work there but the work started to become the center of my life versus having the structure of a prayer life. Consequently, after a few years, I started feeling empty inside so I knew I needed a change.”

When it comes to being part of the monasteries there are many duties that must be fulfilled. Abbott Marion discusses his roles as a monk: “it encompasses a lot of things but I think there are some primary things. Being an Abbott means that you are both the administrative and spiritual father of a community of men and are guided by the fifteen hundred years of tradition of the Benedictines who follow the rules of Saint Benedict. It’s a very small booklet of 72 chapters of the ways in which we search for God and how we live with one another and the structure within the monastery. My responsibility is also connected with the university. I’m the Chancellor of the University. I work directly with the President, as well as the Chair of the Board of Trustees on a weekly basis to collaborate with them and to guide them in running a Catholic and Benedictine university. The monks participate in their own ways, like working as a professor or like Brother Ramone who works in the mailroom.”

Abbott Marion had been a part of the Saint Martin’s community for a while and commented about the things he loves about the university, “I think I love the fact that those who come here know that there is a deeper appreciation for the traditions the school has. The fact that we are able to share our religion with the students and know we aren’t alone because we have collaborators. I really appreciate that the Brothers here come together four times a day to pray not only for ourselves but the holiness we need to pray for God to watch over everyone in our ministry, the staff of the university, professors, and especially the students. We really feel that we are receiving the confidence of parents who have sent their children here and we try to create an environment that is conductive for their growth. A place of peace, a place where dignity is affirmed.” 

Album Review: Love Synonym #2: Right for Us

Sunya Chay, Staff Writer

With many streaming apps available like Spotify, Pandora or YouTube Music, students are able to stream and listen to their favorite songs. With all of these platforms, students are given the opportunity to find a new favorite song or album as well. Love Synonym #2: Right for Us by Wonho came out on February 26, 2021. This album features eight songs, with songs in both Korean and English, and a title track called “Lose.” This album is a continuation of Wonho’s first album Love Synonym #1: Right for Me. This is Wonho’s second album since becoming a soloist. Previously, he was in a K-pop group called Monsta X. However, he left in November 2019 due to false accusations made against him. These accusations were cleared and Wonho was able to come back as a soloist in 2020 under Highline Entertainment, which is a sub-company under his previous one, Starship Entertainment. 

With the physical album, you are able to get not only the album, but some other items as well. Like many K-pop albums, Love Synonym #2: Right for Us includes a photocard of Wonho, a bookmark, stickers, a postcard, punch out cards, and a photobook, on top of the actual album. There are also three different versions of the album that you can collect. There is no difference to the actual songs on the album, but each version has a different photo concept.

Love Synonym #2: Right for Us consists of songs that are upbeat and catchy, as well as slower, more meaningful songs. Like in his first album, he includes a song dedicated to his fans. WENEED is a song that shows this relationship between Wonho and his fans. One of the lines in the song reads, “When I’m back on the stage, can you wave your hands again? This song’s for you. Can you sing it along ’cause we need each other, like stars and the night sky. Shining so bright, we’ll light up the night.” The song is called WENEED because of the name that Wonho gave to his fans “Wenee.”

Other songs show a much more upbeat tune. The title track Lose, featuring a pop melody, is featured in both English and Korean. Another song that features a similar melody is the song, Ain’t About You. This song features the singer Kiiara who is most known for her song Gold back in 2015. Both these songs revolve around break-ups and relationships. Lose features lyrics like, “I’m stuck in the middle of your maze but you love to keep the chase.” On similar lines, Ain’t About You has lyrics like, “Does it sound cliché to say, that I just need some space babe. It’s not you, it’s me really, I’m the one that changed.” A lot of people also danced to Ain’t About You on TikTok as well.

Love Synonym #2: Right for Us contains songs that are both meaningful and catchy. From upbeat songs to slower ballads, there are plenty of songs that one might enjoy in their playlists.

Hui ’O Hawai’i Luau

Sophia Kobernusz-Gibbs, Staff Writer

The campus Luau is back this spring, and in person. Yes, you read that right! Last year, due to COVID-19, the Hui ’O Hawai’i club’s Luau was canceled and moved to an online format. This year, the Hawai’i Club invites students and faculty to join in this socially distanced event on April 24th in the Marcus Pavilion. 

The Luau is a legacy event for the Hawai’i Club involving music, dance and food. It is a celebration that has been a part of the club’s tradition since its inception. This year’s event will be limited to 200 people and the food will be to-go only.

Jocelyn Bonilla, President of the Hui ‘O Hawai’i Club, talks about how entire families from Hawai’i would come to Saint Martin’s for past Lūʻau’s, to watch them perform and be a part of the festivities, but cannot attend this year due to COVID-19. Bonilla is excited to see how Luau 2021 will play out. The club hopes to provide a safe and memorable experience for everyone who attends.

Preparation for the Luau has already begun. There have been challenges and setbacks, but Bonilla is proud to see club members work together, overcome obstacles, and be resilient. “Their willingness to dedicate their time to learn new dances, prepare decorations, and event logistics motivates me as a leader to remain optimistic and hopeful,” Bonilla said. 

At the Luau, you can expect new dances taught by entertainment chair Wehi Kawasaki, aided by Jenna Ramirez and Shay Bonilla. This year, the club is catering food from L&L  Hawaiian Barbecue in Tumwater. 

Unrelated to this event, Bon Appétit, Saint Martin’s integrated catering company, had planned an earlier event at the campus café called “Let’s Luau” featuring Hawaiian-inspired foods and drinks. The Hawai’i club shared its concerns about the cultural appropriation of calling it a Luau event, and Bon Appétit agreed to cancel the event. Bonilla said the club appreciates Bon Appétit “for recognizing our concerns and taking steps to remedy the situation. We are grateful for their cooperation and willingness to hear input from our members.”

Beyond this year’s Luau, Bonilla talked about what the club has done for her, and what she hopes to do for the club. “My freshman year, [members] Jase and Mariel were on the board and they made SMU feel like a second home for me. Since serving on the board, my goal has been to provide the same experience for our members.” 

The Hui ‘O Hawai’i club plans a variety of events throughout the year, including Midterm Cram Jam and Volunteer Opportunities at Our Common Home Farm. “Last semester we successfully pulled off a virtual Ho’olaule’a, which essentially is a small-scale version of what we plan for during Lūʻau,” Bonilla said. “This semester we are looking forward to doing the same with Luau 2021.”

Roughly 80 percent of the club members are from Hawai’i, Bonilla told The Belltower. “You do not have to be from Hawai’i to be a part of this club,” she said. “We welcome anyone interested in learning about the culture to join! An important note to make here is that not everyone from Hawai’i is Hawaiian. Many people assume that everyone from Hawai’i is Hawaiian but that is not the case at all. To be Hawaiian means to have Native Hawaiian blood.” 

If you want to learn more about the club and its activities, follow it on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @smuhuiohawaii. 

Kamakura Restaurant Review

Emmanuel Son, Staff Writer

Just a few minutes walk down from the Marcus Pavillion on Pacific Avenue is Kamakura. This Japanese restaurant is a small but lovely family-owned spot serving a number of different traditional and Americanized Japanese dishes. It serves as a convenient location for Saint Martin’s students to grab Japanese cuisine without having to travel far from campus. Some menu items include those that are common in a number of Asian restaurants such as Miso soup, Gyoza/Potstickers and Pad Thai options. Some other menu items include items common in other sushi restaurants such as the California Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, and a Vegetarian Roll. Overall, it has a decently priced menu for what is available. 

I ordered the Lightning Special Roll, a special from the premium sushi roll menu. This roll consisted of a California roll topped with a seaweed salad. Also in the roll was salmon and yellowtail slices. Compared to most sushi restaurants, the roll was simple. Other sushi restaurants have typically included two more types of fish in one roll such as eel or red snapper. Most have also added tempura to the roll. Despite the Lightning Special Roll being more on the simple side, the food itself was delectable. The seaweed salad on top of a California Roll was a new combination that I had never tried before as it is quite common to get a salad on the side. However, it ended up being a good combination. A number of other rolls were California Roll based with their own combination of fish or toppings. And with most sushi dishes at restaurants, there was a side of wasabi, soy sauce and horseradish. The idea of making sushi rolls more simple is something the restaurant does a good job in. Having a smaller combination of foods yet at a decent portion makes sure that there are not too many flavors happening at once. Other rolls from the Premium Sushi Rolls menu include a Rainbow Roll, Sunshine Roll, and a Dragon Roll. 

The restaurant also has a vegan-friendly menu. Some vegan menu items include an Avocado Roll, a Tofu Roll, Organic Shiitake, and a number of Inari options. Other vegan-friendly specials were the Olympia Vegan roll, the Google It Roll, and the Welcome to the Vegan World Roll. 

While the menu was kept smaller and simpler compared to a number of other Japanese restaurants in the area, the food overall was satisfactory. After all, the restaurant has received an award for their vegan friendly choices. Also, a common detail on the menu was cream cheese in sushi rolls. While many might point out that most east Asian foods traditionally consist of dairy, the lack thereof shows the restaurant’s efforts to appeal to American customers and incorporate both sides of culture on the meal. 

On Google, the restaurant stands at a 4.8/5 star review. Delivery options for Kamaukara also come in UberEats, Doordash and Grubhub. The restaurant is located at 4804 Pacific Ave, SE Lacey, WA 98503. Because of its simple menu, great taste and a close proximity to campus, I would add Kamakura to the list of restaurants to visit again, and recommend that the community continue to support small businesses and give this place a try. 

Elizabeth Grasher: Highlighting the Health

Sophia Kobernusz-Gibbs, Staff Writer

Saint Martin’s University is a lush campus with so many amazing staff and faculty, creating a wonderful and sustainable learning environment. With so many departments to choose from, we will be focusing this issue on an individual from the Psychology department. That one such staff member is Elizabeth Grasher M.S., LMHC, LMFT.

Ms. Grasher has been with the university for four and a half years. She is an adjunct Psychology professor here at the university. She teaches many classes here at Saint Martin’s, one of them including PSY215: Lifespan Development. Ms. Grasher explained that in this class, which she teaches consistently, “you may find yourself interested in topics like nature versus nurture, language acquisition, or physical challenges we encounter as we age.” Ms. Grasher talks about her love for psychology and the community environment with the students. “I teach because I love psychology and sharing with students, not just knowledge from the classroom or the textbook, but I work to provide a sense of community in the classes. I want students to feel empowered and know that they are capable of learning both inside and outside of my classroom as they each bring different talents,” Grasher said. She always gives opportunities if students need help.

 Ms. Grasher received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Troy State University Dothan in Alabama and her Master’s degree at Tarleton State University-Killen in Texas. When asked about getting her degree, Ms. Grasher said “attending universities outside of my home state of Washington allowed me the opportunity to see other states, focus on my studies, and make lifelong friendships across the country.” Even after moving around for her education, she found herself back in Washington. Ms. Grasher also works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Mental Health counselor for Joint Base Lewis McChord. Ms. Grasher was drawn to psychology from her personal family experiences, from her grandmother and her parents, and her desire to take the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. 

Ms. Grasher is involved both in the classroom and across campus. She is the faculty advisor for NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, a new club on campus that started this past fall. Ms. Grasher said her work here, “focuses on improving the lives of those impacted by mental illness, both personally and among family members and friends. We advocate, educate, and listen to improve people’s lives.” This club also focuses on creating space for BIPOC students to talk about barriers within the mental health field. You can reach out to a club member or Grasher if you are interested!

When she is not teaching about the human lifespan, you may find her on Lewis McChord, or advocating for mental health with NAMI, or you’ll find Ms. Grasher on the yoga mat. She is a 200 RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) and almost a 300 RYT with an emphasis on trauma and social justice. When asked about her tech degree in yoga, Grasher explained, believing in yoga’s mind-body connection, and the benefits this type of movement provides, “Multiple peer-reviewed studies indicate that yoga, especially trauma sensitive-yoga, can help modulate the stress response and can be a great adjunct to talk therapy. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.” 

The Haunting of Bly Manor: A subtle change makes all the difference

Tuilei Scanlan, Layout Manager

The Haunting of Bly Manor is perfect for all ghost story fans. Photo retrieved from

On October 9, Mike Flanagan’s new addition to his “Haunting” series, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” offers a whole new world of unexpected plot twists and frightening revelations.

Based on Henry James’ 1898 horror novel, “The Turn of the Screw,” this nine-episode series touches on the tragedy of the human condition and relevant social issues such as homosexuality and domestic abuse.

Unlike Flanagan’s first series, “The Haunting of Hill House,” in which the supernatural begins early on, this new work is a slow burn. Rather than using jump scares and horrifying creatures, Flanagan creates a tangled web of tragic mysteries beneath the cheery façade of Bly Manor, keeping viewers captivated in an entirely new way.

A house is more than just a building – that’s the point made by Flanagan in his 2018 series “The Haunting of Hill House.” Hugh and Olivia Crain move into the fairytale manor with their five children, intending to renovate, sell, then use the money to build their “Forever Home.” But, they soon find out the house is alive. Flanagan uses a series of flashbacks as the plot follows the lives of the children, now grown adults, who have been traumatized by the unexplainable happenings at Hill House.

Flanagan often uses sudden tragedy, a mixture of past and present, the loss of loved ones, and unanswered questions to distinguish his writing style. However, his pattern changes with a certain subtlety that turns “The Haunting of Bly Manor” into a captivating series in a way completely different from its predecessor.

“Dead doesn’t mean gone,” is the unsettling theme of “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” The audience is moved from the familiar American scene to the quiet countryside of Bly in 1898; where an excessively large manor rests eerily on a secluded plot of land with an inescapable gravity that pulls in its inhabitants. The pleasantness of the characters and the serenity of the English countryside where the story largely takes place offers viewers no reason to feel any suspicion. But there are secrets in every room, shadows around each corner, and creatures stuck in mirrors; all you have to guide you through the twists and turns is a woman’s voice.

Much like “Hill House,” an unfortunate accident throws a wrench in the lives of the living. Dani Clayton, a preppy American played by Victoria Pedretti who also starred in “Hill House,” comes to Bly Manor as the new Au pair. Viewers are slowly able to work the puzzling past of Dani’s life as Flanagan incorporates a series of flashbacks into the developing plot.

Everything is “perfectly splendid” as the viewers and Dani first arrive at the grounds of the infamous Manor. Not a single indication that trouble is on the horizon.

In “Hill House,” the children were afraid of their home, seeing and hearing things that their parents could not. In Bly Manor it is no longer the children who are afraid, but the Au pair.

There’s an oddness to Flora Wingrave (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles Wingrave (Benjamin Ainsworth) that Dani is uncertain about. Passing their strange behavior off as a result of having lost their parents and previous governess all in a matter of months, she unknowingly misses all the warnings pointing to escape.

Flanagan’s new series, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” is a must see for viewers interested in a thrilling ghost story.

Candidates participate in recent Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates

By Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer

The Presidential and Vice Presidential debates continued, despite COVID-19 regulations. Photo retrieved from

As it gets closer to election day, President Donald Trump and presidential nominee Joe Biden have engaged in debates on mask policies, racism, and police brutality, often bringing up the other’s personal life in an attempt to slight their opponent. On Sept. 29, they went head-to-head in the First Presidential Debate of 2020, discussing everything from campaign rallies and voting fraud to who has done better at reducing crime. With President Trump not following many of the previously agreed upon rules, Biden missing clear opportunities to expand on key issues, and the moderator letting it get out of hand, many say that this debate was the worst one yet.

One of the biggest issues of the night was when Trump declined to denounce white supremacy when he was specifically asked to comment on the current situations of violence seen in Kenosha and Portland. His answer specifically singled out the group, Proud Boys, a New York extremist group founded amid the 2016 Presidential Election under a “general hate” ideology. 

Trump commented, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what: Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left. Because this is not a right-wing problem–this is a left-wing problem.” This statement has since landed the President in hot water and has become somewhat of a new logo for the Proud Boys group.

Another key issue of the night were the recurring challenges that Biden failed to address. Many watchers noted that he could have said more in the debate and it resulted in a series of missed opportunities for him. Overall, viewers thought that Biden appeared frazzled, even telling Trump to “shut up” at one point and referred to him as a “clown” during multiple instances. When the topic of climate change rolled around, however, Biden picked up a bit of steam. In an effort to prevent hurricane damage, he detailed his proposal to provide tax incentives to people who weatherize their homes. Biden also commented that Trump’s response to hurricanes is to “drop a nuclear weapon on them.”

The Vice-Presidential debate, held on Oct. 7, was less intense than the preceding presidential debate. Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence debated more in the form of a civil disagreement than a heated argument. Key topics of the night included health care, jobs, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economy. 

Although not many voters solely base their voting decision on the outcome of the Vice-Presidential debate, this year might be different. With the large age gap between the two Vice Presidents, and the President’s recent contraction of coronavirus, voters may be more attuned to the Vice-Presidential Debate this year. Although it could not have been much help that both candidates ignored a key question addressing Biden’s age and the President’s recent illness of “What would you do if the President became incapacitated?”

One of the main highlights for Harris included her now famous words in response to Vice President Pence taking away from her time, continuing with, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.” Pence countered when Harris announced her tentative plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic, commenting that it too closely resembled plans of action the current administration have tried to put into action. Pence stated “it looks a bit like plagiarism” in response.

With the recent news of President Trump contracting COVID-19, and many White House and campaign staff releasing updated news of their own cases, many wonder if future debates will indeed happen. After President Trump’s diagnosis, it was proposed that the next debate be done virtually, but Trump quickly refused. Another Presidential Debate is planned to take place on Oct. 22. 

Office of International Programs introduces new study abroad changes

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

The impact of the pandemic has been felt by students and teachers in their learning atmosphere. Schools have also been forced to change many of their programs in order to adjust to new COVID-19 regulations. One of the more specific Saint Martin’s University programs that has been affected by the pandemic is the study abroad program. 

Assistant Dean Lindsay Kramer of International Programs and Development gives insight into the study abroad program at Saint Martins. 

“The study abroad program is a program that Saint Martin’s offers through the Office of International Programs and Development [OIPD] located in Old Main, room 430. The Office of Study Abroad is committed to developing students as global citizens through experiences overseas, whether by education abroad, cultural exchange, service-learning, new virtual programs, and/or research projects in countries outside the U.S,” shared Kramer. 

Kramer also discussed some upcoming changes to study abroad programs, and reflected on the “highly attended Study Abroad fair” of Sept. 2019, where “over 130 students attended to learn more about opportunities around the globe.”

“Following the event a survey was sent to attendees asking for feedback, but also what they would like to see in the future. Over 90% of the respondents said they were more likely to pursue a study abroad experience if the application process was available online. As a result, OIPD purchased a software program that now allows students, staff, & faculty to access all available programming. This software link will be available through Saint Martin’s webpage and give access to and provide information on all programs offered 24/7,” Kramer said.

Kramer shared that this software, called “Via-TRM or Via-Traveler Relationship Management” is user-friendly, and provides student support “from the early-stage research of programs,” to the “pre-departure process.” The software utilizes a simplified application process to help students apply to programs they are interested in. As Kramer described, “it is a one-stop for all of your study abroad needs.”

Kramer also discussed the reason behind the new addition: “We believe that every student should have the opportunity to engage in global learning opportunities. By providing a software program that can be accessed 24/7 and one that our 2019 survey results among students echoed, we hope that every student here at Saint Martin’s will take a few minutes to go online and check out the new software Study Abroad has to offer.”

Interested students can access study abroad information by following

The detrimental cost of losing newspapers: Who pays the price?

Bethany Montgomery, Staff Writer


The world of media and news is constantly evolving from standardized newspapers, magazines, and other print publications to digital alternatives. However, this dramatic change that newspapers are facing is having larger negative effects than most organizations realize. 

This switch is far from a seamless transition. According to the Washington Examiner, over the past decade, the transition to “new media” has resulted in the loss of over 33,000 newspaper jobs. Since major newspapers have moved online, new jobs catering to this service have materialized, but not enough to compensate for the loss of jobs from the former industry. According to Pew, “Among the largest digital-native outlets — those with a monthly average of at least 10 million unique visitors — 14 percent went through layoffs in 2018 and 20 percent did the year before. Nearly all the digital-native news outlets that laid off staff in 2017 or 2018 cut more than 10 employees.”

However, this is not just a result of news organizations shifting platforms for the sake of convenience. An additional report showed that American preferences for getting their news through both the paper and television have been steadily declining. Americans report that their primary source of news is social media, with the majority of those surveyed saying that their feed on platforms like Facebook and Twitter instigate their interest in reading the news. 

According to the Washington Post, weekday prints have declined from 60 million in print in 1994, to a mere 35 million of both print and digital combined in 2018. In addition to the decline in jobs and print paper circulation, advertising companies saw a massive drop in revenue, falling from $65 billion in 2000 to below $19 billion in 2016. Despite the revenue created from online subscriptions and advertising, companies are failing to meet their projected revenue targets. 

Several other countries have stepped in to stop a similar decline in their economy before its negative impacts become detrimental. While Britain has been warning citizens about the disappearance of their paper, in Canada, the government commissioned a special report to explain the dangers that losing newspapers would pose to democracy. In efforts to combat this change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged $50 million in 2018 to “…support local news coverage and proposed legal changes that might help nonprofit news ventures to raise money.” 

Canada’s two primary news companies, Postmedia and Torstar, have come close to bankruptcy, and have laid off employees and cut content to stay in business. In the last 10 years, 30 percent of all journalist jobs in Canada have been cut and ad revenue has dropped from almost $3 billion to less that $1.75 billion. Unsurprisingly, this rate is likely to result in both companies completely dissolving in the foreseeable future. This tragic fate would leave most of the nation’s major cities without a daily paper.With no way for digital media to compensate for these losses, these cities would certainly be less likely to receive coverage on local, focused news stories. 

Without the traditional model of a newspaper, the spreading of “news” becomes a non-stop flow of information without need to credit sources or pursue accurate, first-hand stories. Journalists are less likely to take on difficult or challenging stories if these articles are lost in a sea of far less credible stories receiving equal attention but requiring less work. This sudden shift to solely moving online is also predicted to have a negative impact on digital news as well. While the variety and ease of access of online news sites is certainly a benefit of online magazines and newspapers, a government-commissioned report states that many digital sites will quickly become obsolete, describing that, 

“The bifurcation of [news] production and distribution, with financial returns heavily skewed to the latter. Moreover, the Internet … has quickly come to be dominated by a pair of global giants from Silicon Valley — Google and Facebook — that are not only lacking in passion for news, but actively avoiding the responsibilities of a publisher.”

American skepticism of news has also increased in the past several years with the recent increase of “fake news.” Americans are skeptical of their current new sources, but are unaware of what will happen without them. Newspapers, more specifically local papers, have reflected culture, attitude, and priorities of the people they represent. This impact cannot be reflected the same way in digital form. Even historically, newspapers have been seen as a fundamental part of democratic institutions. As the late Thomas Jefferson said, “This formidable censor of the public functionaries, by arraigning them at the tribunal of public opinion, produces reform peaceably, which must otherwise be done by revolution.”


Advice from your editorial staff

Bethany Montgomery

Ever since I began at Saint Martins in 2016, I have had positive and negative experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. Even if there are things I think could be improved, I believe that God has blessed me with many opportunities that I would not have been able to experience anywhere else. For one, going to school 45 minutes away from my family gave me the ability to live at home, but in the last year, I was able to live in Olympia and commute a short distance while holding both on and off campus jobs. I’ve held four jobs on campus, and four positions here at the newspaper, which I’m sure I would never have been able to get otherwise, and have been taught lessons on taking initiative, leadership, and getting to know my community. I love that I know the faculty in the political science and history department personally as they have helped me navigate my major and gave great advice and insight from their many years of teaching and schooling. Being able to wave at people I know in the hallways every day, and knowing at least one person in my classes each semester is of great comfort to me, and has helped me ease out of my introverted shell to become much more of a people person than I ever thought I would be. Working at the library has provided me the chance to learn the names of faculty, staff, and students that I would not have the enjoyment of meeting otherwise. What an opportunity it is to go to a small school and to have the ability to best utilize the time and resources available on campus. If you have these opportunities, don’t pass them by! Get involved in clubs, enjoy your chance to be something significant, and to not only learn, but to experience personal growth.


Brian Messing

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.” – Calvin Coolidge. I often think about this quote whenever I am presented with a problem or an opportunity. People are not successful because they are smart or because they have been well educated; they are successful because they take opportunities that come to them and don’t let anything stand in their way. I learned this lesson when I was interning at the Legislature this semester. No matter who I was working with, I noticed that the best way to get anything done was to be persistent on my objective, and to not give up. Again, your God-given talents are helpful, but without persistence, you cannot achieve anything.


Eric Parks

Nearing the halfway mark of my undergraduate career, I am thankful that I chose Saint Martin’s as my school. Although my plans have changed drastically during my time here, the Saint Martin’s community has helped facilitate my growth as a person. Initially, I chose this school because of its engineering program. I switched from civil to mechanical engineering, but then decided that STEM was not my calling. Although SMU’s STEM program was the deciding factor in my choice to attend Saint Martin’s over other institutions, I am excited to finish my degree at this school in Business Administration. Professors have continued to challenge my learning in many ways, whether it be academically or morally. My freshman year, I was able to find a job with the Belltower as a sports writer, and I enjoyed that position for the year I held it. As sports section editor this year, I have continued to grow as a person. Working as a team with my peers to produce the school newspaper has been enjoyable and meaningful for my educational experience at SMU. I encourage everyone to find a student activity or two that they find interesting, whether it be a club, organization, or team. These activities can facilitate the connection between students and their school better than anything else.


Sophia Lim

I have now completed three semesters at Saint Martin’s. From dealing with tough professors, roommate drama, 8 a.m. classes, and the overbearing stress of school that every college student can relate to, it has already been a rollercoaster. Yet, despite all the mishaps and downs I’ve experienced, I’ve also learned a great deal. I learned to always check the Rate My Professor app and to pay attention to the reviews, to remove myself from a situation as soon as it gets toxic, to never choose 8 a.m. classes for every day of the week, and to stop procrastinating, because that’s most likely the root of all scholarly stress. The growth that these experiences provided me is one that when looking back, I am proud to have went through. This school may have thrown its worst at me, but along with that came its best. I was able to be in classes with great professors who not only helped me within the subject, but in other areas as well. The faculty and staff have also been beyond helpful when it came to problems I would encounter regarding my student account. If I could offer advice from what I have imbibed so far in my collegiate journey, it would be to be a go-getter. So many opportunities are offered to us and all that is required is that we look and apply. Put yourself out there, and though it may seem scary at first, you’d be surprised at how much you’ll actually benefit from and enjoy it. Now, no matter how many more semesters you have left to endure in the college journey, push through. As the famous saying and the mantra of my life goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”


Emma Dobbs

I am so thankful to attend Saint Martin’s and excited to have one year completed. Although this school year went by fast, it has been full of new and exciting opportunities and experiences. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in and out of school this year to pursue my interests and learn more about myself. My advice is to never take opportunities for granted. Every opportunity is a chance to learn and grow. As you learn, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life that I have found I can grow and learn from. This school year, I’ve had so many chances to meet new and interesting people, try new things, and study interesting topics. Challenge yourself in all you do and work hard to be the best version of yourself. There is so much to learn from the experiences that are outside of your comfort zone. Starting college was a scary step for me, but I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had and glad to know it’s not as scary as I thought! It all flies by so fast, but the memories made and knowledge learned will last a lifetime.