Life at Carroll College – From Dublin Green to Montana Big Sky Country
by Veronica Rubio (Dublin High School Class of 2011 and Carroll College freshman)
My name is Veronica Rubio and I am currently a freshman at a small, private, liberal arts college called Carroll College. It is located in Helena, Montana and is a very small school, with about 1,500 students. Carroll College has about the same number of students as the high school I graduated from, Dublin High School. I had a great experience at Dublin High. My teachers were terrific and the curriculum prepared me very well for Carroll. I made some great friends and was involved in the school through leadership, sports, and clubs. I had grown very comfortable at Dublin High and while I was excited to start college, I was also nervous about going to a school so far from home with a bunch of people I did not know. All of the Carroll’s brochures told me how nice the campus was, the challenge of the classes, and the community feeling of the school. I went and visited the school and really liked it, but I was still nervous. There was really no way of knowing what it would be like until I experienced it.
In August, my parents and I made the trip to Helena. I got my room all sorted out and before I knew it, I was by myself in Helena, Montana at a very small school with people I knew nothing about. However, after a short while I made friends and started classes. The brochures were right-the campus is very beautiful, the classes are challenging, and there is a true sense of community on campus. Anywhere I walk on campus I see someone I know or someone says hi. The scenery is beautiful, with snow-covered mountains and grass-covered hills everywhere. I am an elementary education major, and the classes for that major do challenge me and have already had me in a classroom observing a teacher and interacting with children.
Carroll makes a significant effort to make you feel connected to the school and to meet people. All freshman (with the exception of a few students in certain situations) live in Guadalupe Hall at the bottom of a hill, about a five-minute walk from the football stadium and school gym. Guadalupe has an open door policy, meaning if you are in your room, your door needs to be open (unless, of course, you need some quiet time, are doing homework, or have another good reason). It creates a very close feeling throughout the hall and it helps people feel more comfortable to go into someone’s room and get to know them and visit with them.
Carroll also has many resources to get you involved on campus and they truly want their students to have a great experience at Carroll. All of my teachers knew my name and wanted me to do the best that I could. They went out of their way to help me in my classes. My counselor, whom I have met a few times, knew my name before I met her and has sent all of her students emails and letters to meet with her just to see how their semester is going. It is at a small school like Carroll where this could occur. At larger schools I have visited, there seems to be more distance between professors and counselors and their students. While that works perfectly fine for some students, I prefer to have a relationship with my teachers and counselors, and know I have people to turn to if I need help in classes or with anything else. At a small school like Carroll, teachers do know who you are and they want to help you do your best in school.
Carroll is a private Catholic school, so there is a religious emphasis at the school. The priest, Father Mark, lives in the freshman hall on the third floor boys. He is right in the middle of the students, and he is very well-respected and liked. There are also theology classes all students have to take. Every sports event begins with prayer and there are crucifixes in the buildings. There is Mass every Sunday night for anyone who wants to come. There is also a spiritual student leader called a Kirchen who lives on every floor of the hall in Guadalupe and the other dorms to be there for the girls or boys on their floor. At some religious schools, the religion is emphasized and is a very big part of the school. While Catholicism is a part of Carroll, there are many students who attend that are not Catholic. However, Carroll makes a significant effort to make all students feel welcome at mass or any spiritual event on campus. It is a great place to grown in your faith, begin your faith, or not be involved in any way spiritually, but be respectful of those who are.
A lot of people asked me why I chose to go to a school in Helena, Montana. It is a very small city and it is freezing there-literally. However, the people in Helena (or anywhere in Montana) could not be more friendly and it is a beautiful place to live. The downtown of Helena is awesome. There are many food places and cool little shops to walk around. Helena’s city also has “regular” stores and restaurants like Target, Applebees, Safeway, Macaroni Grill, and Taco Bell. However, it also has some restaurants just related to Montana that are delicious and fun to go to. Shops do close down a bit earlier, but you still find things to do like just hanging out in the dorms or sledding down Guad Hill or going to the movies. Montana is a great place to live.
I am very glad I chose to go to school at Carroll College. I have made some great friends and I have been challenged in my classes. Dublin High School really prepared me well for the rigor of college and what would be expected of me. Dublin’s teachers make sure that their students know their information and want them to do well in their classes. All of the AP classes at Dublin also helped me because I was able to experience college level courses in high school that would help me understand the information and rigor at the college level. Dublin High gave me the foundation and experience that I needed to be successful at Carroll College. Dublin is also a great place to be, just like Helena, Montana.
At the Dublin High School 2011 Senior Awards Night Veronica was awarded a Dublin High School Alumni Scholarship, the Tri-Valley Retired Educators Scholarship, a Dublin High School PFSO Scholarship, a Carroll College Scholarship, a Dublin High School Counseling Department Scholarship, an AVID Scholarship and a President’s Silver Award for Educational Achievement.
Other articles in the Life in College series:
- Life at Harvard University: Michelle Lee on Choosing Crimson for College Colors
- Becoming a University of Arizona Wildcat – From Dublin to Tucson
- Life as a Cadet at West Point: From Dublin High School to the US Military Academy
- Life as a UCLA Bruin: Deanna Hong on Combining Art, Athletics and Academics
- Life at Sonoma State University – Fulfilling a Love of Music
- Life at UC San Diego – From Dublin High AP to Nanoengineering
- Life as a Piper at Hamline University
- Life as a Vaquero at Santa Barbara City College
- Life at Stanford University: Ravali Reddy on Choosing Cardinal for College Colors
- Life at Columbia University and JTS – from Dublin High to the Ivy League
- Life at UC Davis: From The Hills of Dublin to the Flats of Davis
- Life at Penn State – Going from a Gael to a Nittany Lion