Greetings from L.A.: A Westminster Junior Reflects on His Love of Westminster

By Mitchell Nardoni, ’21, West Wings Student Marketing Agency Member

My name is Mitchell Nardoni, and I’m a junior majoring in business communications at Westminster College. I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and live in nearby San Pedro, CA, which is a working-class port town. I went home two weeks ago for spring break, and currently there’s definitely an eerie feeling in the air throughout the city because of the coronavirus outbreak.

I felt it as soon as I arrived at a half-empty LAX, which is usually packed to the brim. The streets are empty even during hours where the famed L.A. rush hour should be in effect. You can see this also through how clear it is outside, because of the lack of emissions in the air. Despite the current situation in the city, it truly is beautiful outside right now, and usually on days like this people are packing the streets, beaches and restaurants throughout the city. But today, most places are practically empty. People in LA are taking this virus seriously, and for good reason, too.

Today I will start taking my classes at Westminster online because of the virus, and I will miss the small town of Fulton and the campus, which I initially heard about through a software which my high school used called Naviance. The software generates a list of colleges based off of personalized criteria. Obviously, Westminster was one of the schools on the list.

I took a look at the Westminster website and saw the variety of programs that were offered and the rich history of the College, so I decided to plan a visit. I immediately fell in love with the campus architecture, specifically with the grand but welcoming appearance of the Columns and the beautiful Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury.

While on my tour, I couldn’t tell you how many people my tour guide knew and said hi to. Everyone we passed would smile and some would wave. That’s when I knew this was the school for me.

Of course, being so far away from home made me feel a little lost at first. This feeling, however, did not last long at all. The College’s First 51 Days of Westminster program keeps first-year students busy their first few weeks on campus, which kept my mind off of being homesick and the fact that I was so far from home. I was able to build connections with like-minded people in my seminar class — a couple of them I call my best friends today. I found it so easy to make friends, and the faculty and staff are always warm and welcoming.

As far as the town of Fulton goes, it has everything you need. There are multiple grocery stores, a Walmart, locally owned restaurants and bars, and most importantly a 24-hour McDonalds. I have always loved the idea of living in a small town and being able to go out into the country, so the big city-to-small town transition wasn’t tough for me. In fact, I enjoyed the lack of traffic and big crowds, the plethora of free parking and the friendly people of Fulton. I’m still sometimes shocked by a stranger waving or saying “hi” to me while passing by on the street or in the store.

Westminster has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’m an introverted person, and before coming to Westminster, I’d say I was introverted to a flaw. However, having to participate in group projects, giving public speeches and experiencing all types of interactions in small classes has helped me shed my outer shell and become a more outgoing individual. I just joined the West Wings Student Marketing Agency on campus, which I could have never seen myself doing when I first came to Westminster.

Now in my third year at Westminster, I can truthfully say that the College feels like home, and I’m looking forward to getting back on campus as soon as possible.



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.