Sarah Lamorte – Doorstep Saints
Place of birth:
New York, USA
Location at time of conferral:
What is your favourite memory (academic or social) of St Andrews?
My favourite memory of St Andrews was when the Folk and Traditional Music Society hosted a concert with the band The East Pointers. A night of fantastic music surrounded by my best friends – to me that’s what St Andrews is all about. A close second is the night before my Raisin, when I was up in my living room finishing the costumes for my kids (they were sheep so there was batting everywhere!) and making up their name tags. I used the same format and shape that my mum had used for me and it was such a special moment. I was so excited and nervous!
What will you miss most about your time as a student at St Andrews?
I think I will miss the social aspects of St Andrews the most. Having my friends so close that we could see each other whenever we wanted, society events where we would all get together and end up being up til the wee hours of the morning chatting or watching movies. It’s the people you meet along the way that make St Andrews so special. And as a nerd, I will miss the Chemistry reading room with all my heart.
What advice would you give to new students?
Don’t worry if it takes you a little while to settle in and find your group of friends. For some people, that happened during Fresher's Week, others maybe it takes a year or two. It may take a few different societies and modules, but I promise you will find your people! Never stop putting yourself out there.
What are your plans after graduation?
I was supposed to begin my PhD in September at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague, but due to coronavirus that has been put on hold for the time being. So we shall see what the future holds!
How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic and global events have shaped the Class of 2020?
I think this has all made us extremely resilient and more empathetic. We have had to completely change the way we learn and are examined, without a test run. We learned as we went and did our best to stay on track and to proceed as normal with classes and deadlines. It definitely was not easy, and I think we have come out stronger for it.
I think we also have a new-found understanding of each other. For once, we have a common relative struggle, including our lecturers and supervisors. We are all struggling to settle in and keep ourselves afloat, so I have seen us all checking in more. It’s easy to go through the motions when we are physically interacting with each other, but now we are making a more concerted effort to ask how each other is doing and having an ear for our friends who need a chat.
Have you taken any positives from the situation?
I have. It is definitely easy to get bogged down with all the negatives, and there are a lot of them! I am normally a very busy person, and I have found this all to be a nice break from my hectic schedule. It was a most welcomed change as I finished my dissertation and prepared for exams. Now I am using my time to do more exploring of St Andrews, finding new nooks on every walk! It is important to take time for yourself, and this has allowed me to catch up on things I was always too busy to do, and I’ve realised that they are important to keep once we move forward.
Do you plan to come back to celebrate in person in St Andrews in 2021? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
I most definitely do! I’ve been involved with graduations since I was in second year, first working as an usher during the ceremonies and then in the last two years as the Chancellor’s piper. Seeing the graduates, friends and family come together to celebrate is always so special. Everyone is so happy! I think I am most looking forward to the procession after the ceremony. As they start to circle the lawn in Sallies Quad, starting to break off and find their loved ones and take pictures. It is the height of joy I think.
Personally, one thing I have been looking forward to is having all the graduation and janitorial staff at the ceremony. I’ve gotten to know them quite well during the years, and we’ve always spoken about my ceremony and who will be the Bedellis and how they will all be there to guide me along so I don’t mess up or trip or anything! I think next year will be extra special for a graduation because all of my friends who are going into their final year will graduate next year, so we get to doubly celebrate our graduations with each other!