Choosing the right college or university is critical to academic success and overall satisfaction. In honor of Thanksgiving, several Saint Leo University students took the time to weigh in on why they are thankful for having chosen Saint Leo for their higher education pursuits:

"Saint Leo University has been the most exciting and eventful step in my educational pursuits I have ever experienced. I never imagined college could be this fun, and I cherish the fun events and the friends I've made very deeply. I genuinely love going to this school, and the bygone days of just goofing off with my friends or studying next to the window on a quiet day at the library are things that I feel scratch the surface of the joys of living. One of my most memorable experiences so far was my first retreat – getting onto the bus with a bunch of other rowdy people to get away for the weekend on a spiritual recharge. The people I met there were nothing short of fantastic and definitely hooked me into the ministry community. One of my favorite moments was the Christmas celebration last year. We were all standing in complete darkness, listening to the priest give his blessing. Right on cue, the entire courtyard lit up in beautiful beaming lights that changed the entire mood from anticipation to festive. The little celebration afterward felt warm and welcoming." – Chrisalyn Junkert, a computer information systems major who is also in the honors program

"When I first got here, I was pretty shy and quiet. But this experience has helped me become a better person, especially being in the ROTC program here. Dr. Joseph Cillo has also helped me a lot with my language and speaking skills." – Blake Burman, a sophomore working toward a bachelor's degree in criminal justice

"The amount of gratitude that I feel for Saint Leo University is exponential. As someone who is a lifelong learner, I wanted to pursue a terminal degree to further my expertise and knowledge. When looking at different programs and visiting those programs, I truly had a connection with the Saint Leo campus and everyone that I met on my visit.  The tour I was given by the person that was my key relationship with my application process was my deciding factor. Now that I am more than halfway through my Doctor of Business Administration program, I do not regret my decision because the relationships I have made with my professors and especially my fellow cohort will be lifelong friendships." – Jordan Hutchison, an online DBA student

"I'm thankful for the community aspect of Saint Leo University. You don't ever have to be alone here, which is really nice. When people say it feels like a family, they are definitely right." – Samih Rutherford, a junior majoring in theater and criminal justice

"I mainly came here for the accounting program, but I've been really surprised at how much of a community we have here. I knew that going to a smaller campus would allow me to have more attention from my professors, but I didn't expect them to be as accommodating as they've been. Even with other students, we can support each other on our work. It's a really great community." – Bailey Alleman, a junior working toward a bachelor's in accounting

"I am thankful for the friends I have made throughout my time at Saint Leo – thankful for them taking pity on me and helping an old man! I am very appreciative for the instructors who have guided me on this journey. I also need to give thanks to the Lord for seeing me through the times I felt I couldn't do it." – Brad Rogers, an online Master of Science in Instructional Design student

"Saint Leo University has supported me like a family and people actually call me by my name. I don't feel like just another number in a book." – Kathryn Huettel, a student in the bachelor's in theater program who we highlighted in this blog article

"I'm thankful for Saint Leo because by coming here, I was able to figure out what I want to do for a career. Upon graduating from high school, I didn't have a clue about what I wanted to do in the future. During my freshman year, I still didn't have a good idea about what I wanted to do. However, I knew that I wanted it to be business-oriented. The faculty that I have had the pleasure of meeting through the various classes I have taken opened my mind up to all the different avenues of business and what each one has to offer. Because of this, I was able to pinpoint the exact career that I wanted and accurately plan out how I would get there." – Malik Buckley, who is earning a bachelor's in marketing at University Campus

"I've learned a lot in the accounting program and the professors are amazing. They really help prepare you for the business world. I've met some of my best friends here. I'm in the golf program, which has been an amazing experience. I'm also grateful to have come here from Montreal in Canada." – Antoine Beaupre-Vachon, a junior working toward a bachelor's in accounting

"I am thankful for the professors and staff that I have encountered who always foster a spirit of caring and concern. However, I am most thankful to Saint Leo University for providing an opportunity for me to increase my knowledge to share with others. The core values of Saint Leo are simple and a constant reminder of leadership. The core values of the University remind me of how important it is to serve our community, continuously pursue personal development (spiritually and physically), have an unwavering respect for others in the diverse environment in which we live and be a woman of integrity in all facets of my life. These values are a daily reminder of how everyone is important. For that, I am grateful." – Marilyn Ponder, an online DBA student

"I'm thankful for the professors in my program and how well they have gotten to know me. They are always there to help me with my needs. I'm also thankful for the opportunity to have done an internship for a third grade class at Bryan Elementary School in Plant City, Fla. I got to see what it's really like being a teacher, which is my goal." - Lineth Deniz, an elementary education major