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Life at Santa Clara University – from Dublin Gaels to Silicon Valley Broncos

November 29, 2012

by Annie McDonald (Dublin High School Class of 2012 and Santa Clara University freshman)

The first time I toured Santa Clara University, it was about ninety degrees, ungodly hot and absolutely cloudless. It struck me how gorgeous the campus was, and how upbeat my tour guide was. He was probably the best tour guide I had through my entire college process.

The next time I was visiting Santa Clara, it was about eight months later and I was in an absolute panic because it was my last college to revisit before I made my decision, and I truly had no idea where I would be living five months from that point. I had more than one meltdown that week because I was so stressed out; just ask my mother. But again, I felt at home on the campus and the student ambassadors were falling all over themselves to make me feel that way. Several hours later, I was at home in my new SCU sweatshirt, working through tuition and housing deposits and forms with my parents.

Rugby – I’m #4

Santa Clara has opened up tons of new opportunities for me. For one, if you told me a year ago I would be playing club rugby as a freshman, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But for all its pain and hard work, rugby is really fun and really rewarding (and I will always be tougher than those football players). I also volunteer on a weekly basis in the special ed class at the middle school down the street from campus, which is also incredibly rewarding, and I always feel better after I come back.

With these activities, plus having class and homework and a job and trying to maintain some form of a social life, life gets pretty crazy, and I’m up late a lot of nights writing essays or studying Italian or just winding down by watching Netflix (my roommate and I watch a lot of Netflix). But I’ve adjusted to the college schedule with relative ease. One thing that’s a lot different about college, something that I love, is that I get to pick my own classes and what time and day they are on. Naturally, I have no classes before 10:30 in the morning. An advantage of being at a private school is that it isn’t impacted and is affected much less by budget cuts, so it’s a lot easier to get the classes you need at a reasonable time than it might be at a state school. The professors at Santa Clara are also some of the best in the country, so you know you’re getting a good education (my school is ranked #5 for “Most Caring Professors” on CollegeProwler).

Another thing about college life that I’ve had to adjust to is taking care of myself, and I don’t just mean making sure I get to bed at a decent hour and all that. Because there are so many people living in such a tight space in the dorms, germs are everywhere, and I’ve been sick three times in the ten weeks I’ve been on campus. When you’re sick, there’s no one to bring you tea or medicine or to take your temperature for you (unless your friends really love you). It’s up to you to suck it up and gut through whatever it is that’s wrong with you. It’s also up to you to decide whether or not you go to class when you aren’t feeling well. Surprisingly, I’ve made it to all of my classes when I was sick, a huge departure from the way I’d beg to stay at home at the slightest tickle in my throat in high school.

There are certainly things I do miss, being at college, such as home-cooked food and having my own room and bathroom. But it’s been amazing, the way living with people instantly brings you closer, and the people at Santa Clara are amazing. I’ve met people from Southern California, the East Coast, Hawaii, and even the Philippines. The atmosphere here is really social, so it’s really easy to meet people and have a good time. And everything is just a bus or train ride away, so there’s never a shortage of things to do on the weekends.

Dublin High School definitely prepared me well for the rigor of college. Taking AP and honors courses at DHS, plus participating in extracurricular activities like drama and being involved in things like Homecoming and school spirit events, have definitely prepared me to not only juggle my crazy college schedule but to work hard and excel in the things I do.

Coming up on finals, it’s hard to believe my first quarter here at SCU is basically over, and it’s also hard to believe that this year’s seniors are already applying for college! For seniors, definitely consider coming to Santa Clara, because it’s an amazing atmosphere and a place that easily feels like home, with tons of opportunities to try new things. If you have any questions, absolutely shoot me an email at, because I’m happy to help anyone become part of the amazing community that is Santa Clara.

Merry Christmas and Go Broncos!

At the Dublin High School 2012 Senior Awards Night Annie was named a California Scholarship Federation Life Member and earned Dublin High School’s Advanced Scholar Diploma.

Other articles in the Life in College series: