Leyte McNealus (right) with her teammates and fellow seniors Jona Cumani (from left), Alexa Dahlin, Elizabeth Phaup and Melissa Wert
When looking for a college, I wanted a place that felt like home. I wanted a place where I would not get lost in a sea of students, and where my professors would notice if I skipped class. Also, I wanted to play soccer at the collegiate level. At the suggestion of my mother, I came to be a Sweet Briar woman (She was right this time!), and I have never looked back. Sweet Briar is a women’s college, and that’s awesome. Here’s why:
Because I’m constantly pushed but always cared for
My high school never pushed me to do more. At Sweet Briar, my professors see my potential and push me to dig deeper. They have exposed me to some of the coolest topics imaginable! Medieval canon law and Roman law with Professor Laufenberg were equally intimidating and interesting. During Professor Goulde’s tenure, he introduced me to Comparative Philosophy of Religion. His class made me think so deeply about culture and society. It’s easier to dig deep academically at a women’s college, because I’m not worried about impressing anyone. It’s all about me and my education. My professors challenge me, but they also care about me and my fellow students. They invite us into their homes and always ask about other things we are involved in.
Because here, I’m a leader among leaders
Women’s leadership is part of the fabric of our school. Every single leadership position is held by a woman. Through the Student Government Association
, I have developed my leadership skills even more. As the electoral officer, I have to organize and plan all of the SGA elections for the upcoming year. In addition, this position gives me the opportunity to help the greater school community as a representative of the student body through decisions we agree on at our SGA meetings. (Starting with the new academic year, leadership will be an even bigger part of the curriculum
, too, which is really exciting!)
Because we’re ONE team
Coming into a new environment, I was lucky to be part of the soccer
team my freshman year. Throughout my time at Sweet Briar, soccer has been a major part of my success. The team has given me a strong group of women I can count on no matter what, as well as emotional and academic support from my coaches, administrators and our trainer. At Sweet Briar, we’re ONE team — on and off the field.
Because lifelong friendships start here
The friends I have made here are some of the best people I have met. They inspire and push me to be better every single day. Sweet Briar women support each other in many ways: during late-night study sessions or as a shoulder to cry on. This type of love and support is also found in the alumnae
. Each one is an accomplished woman with an incredible life story. Every time they interact with us, they want to hear all about our traditions and campus life, and they’re always willing to help us with whatever it is we might need — internship advice or a job lead, or maybe a place to stay over break. Our alumnae are here for us, just as we are here for each other. Soon, I’ll be one of them, and I’ll be reaching out to students who need my support. It’s because we’re all part of this enormous, unbreakable sisterhood.
Graduation will be bittersweet. I am so glad I chose Sweet Briar on April 30, 2014, while studying abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s how you can learn more about Sweet Briar
Leyte McNealus ’18, of Landgrove, Vt., is a history major and religion minor on the pre-law track. She is a student admissions ambassador, varsity soccer player and former lacrosse player. She serves as the SGA’s electoral officer, Earphones president, a member of Aint’s ‘n’ Asses and secretary on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A member of Phi Alpha Delta, Leyte earned an Experiential Learning Fellowship from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.