Small school, small town: St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S. - Macleans.ca
 

Small school, small town: St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S.

Sean McEvoy


 
Small school, small town: St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S.

Sean McEvoy, St. Francis Xavier University | Photograph Roger Lemoyne

Sean McEvoy is a first-year business administration student from Quispamsis, N.B. He plans to be a lawyer.

Why did you choose a school in a small town?
“I grew up in a town about the same size as Antigonish,” says McEvoy. “I like the familiarity of knowing where everything is. When I first visited here, I noticed everybody smiles at you. I’ve heard stories about Halifax and the crime rate, but there have never been any major issues with crime in Antigonish, so I feel really safe here.”

What’s the small campus like?
“I can get anywhere in 10 minutes or less. You can walk everywhere. I’ve woken up 10 minutes before class and I still managed to get there in time.”

Is there anything to do after class?
“We’ve got two bars, one on campus and one downtown. We’ve got a lot of clubs and societies within St. FX. There’s also a movie theatre and restaurants.”

How do you get home from the bar?
“I’m 18. But there are taxis. The student union also has a service where they’ll pick you up at the bar and they’ll drive you back home or to residence.”

Will you be prepared if you ever have to live in the big city?
“I want to go into law afterwards. Dal [Dalhousie in Halifax] is probably the closest law school. I have a lot of friends who go there, so they can prepare me for what a big city is like.”

How’s the relationship with the locals?
“I didn’t realize how much the town revolves around the school until I got here. At homecoming you see the whole town get decked out in St. FX stuff. The big deal here coming up is X-ring.” X-ring is when the graduates get their St. FX rings and the whole town celebrates, he explains. “Walking around town, you see countdown signs that say, ‘30 days till X-ring’ and stuff like that.
The town really supports the school.”

What’s Antigonish like?
“There are just two main streets, but it’s bigger than my hometown,” he says. “My town has just a variety store. Here, there’s a Wal-Mart, a mall, a movie theatre.”

What was your biggest surprise?
“On our first day, our president, Dr. [Sean] Riley, spent time with every student. He came down to me and shook my hand. He wanted to know where I’m from. He wanted to know about my town, what my interests are, what I plan to do with my degree. The dean also got to know my name and made some recommendations for courses and wished me luck on the first day. Then, later in the week, we all had meetings with him in small groups of maybe 10 and he asked everyone, ‘What are you trying to do with your career?’ I feel like I’m an actual person here, not a number.”

SMALL SCHOOLS IN SMALL TOWNS:

Acadia University
2,968 (Wolfville, N.S.: pop. 3,800)
Mount Allison University
2,398 (Sackville, N.B.: pop. 5,400)
St. Francis Xavier University
4,216 (Antigonish, N.S.: pop. 4,200)
Bishop’s University
1,854 (Lennoxville, Que.: pop. 5,000)
Université Sainte-Anne
465 (Church Point, N.S.: pop. 8,800)


 

Small school, small town: St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S.

  1. What a wimp. I went to STFX and didn't have to go through this melodrama. It sounds like, rather than going to a small town university to make friends and grow yourself, this bud wanted someone to hold his hand. I remember when men used to attend STFX; now they're just upper Canadian prisses.

  2. What a wimp. I went to STFX and didn't have to go through this melodrama. It sounds like, rather than going to a small town university to make friends and grow yourself, this bud wanted someone to hold his hand. I remember when men used to attend STFX; now they're just upper Canadian prisses.

  3. Adam: I find your comments to be very insensititve and wrong. Knowing McEvoy personally, I can attest to the integrity of his character, which makes me wonder why you are on MacLeans taking potshots at some first year university student. Get a life Adam. STFX rocks.

  4. Adam: I find your comments to be very insensititve and wrong. Knowing McEvoy personally, I can attest to the integrity of his character, which makes me wonder why you are on MacLeans taking potshots at some first year university student. Get a life Adam. STFX rocks.

  5. I went to STFX and didnt find it to be very special. Very high Tuition rate, nothing to do if you don't plan on drinking. Lots of partying lots of the time. I did not share the same frosh week experience, I do not remember Sean Riley individually meeting with me, I had to wait in line on the first day to shake his hand and then to be ushered away to the next step of first day scheduled events. I am also from the same hometown as Mr. McEvoy and Quispamsis has a population near 20 000 people. With a lot more to do then Antigonish and a 15 minute drive from Saint John where there is everything, a Walmart, 3-4 malls, a Costco, multiple theatres.
    I found most things in this article to be false.

  6. I went to STFX and didnt find it to be very special. Very high Tuition rate, nothing to do if you don't plan on drinking. Lots of partying lots of the time. I did not share the same frosh week experience, I do not remember Sean Riley individually meeting with me, I had to wait in line on the first day to shake his hand and then to be ushered away to the next step of first day scheduled events. I am also from the same hometown as Mr. McEvoy and Quispamsis has a population near 20 000 people. With a lot more to do then Antigonish and a 15 minute drive from Saint John where there is everything, a Walmart, 3-4 malls, a Costco, multiple theatres.
    I found most things in this article to be false.

    • i know that sean has told me that macleans terribly misquoted him about the size of the town and its contents…for example sean said to the reporters quispamsis had a varierty of stores instead of just a variety store. If you did not find StFX special then its probably because you just stayed in your dorm all day acting depressed and didnt get involved. Partying is a choice and there are numerous societies to get involved in if you are not the party type. I personally also had a very nice conversation with Dr.Riley on the first day. The tuition rate you will find is actually on a freeze with the rest of the province and if you are comparing tuition to a second rate university such as UNBSJ, it is worth it for the reputation of the degree. I take great offence that you do not find STFX a special place. It is a wonderful institution with a family atmosphere. If you didnt enjoy it you must have been homesick and not really wanted to be here. So good riddance to you

      • I take great offense that you think UNBSJ is second rate. What makes it as such? Have you ever been there? Sure it's Saint John but that doesn't make it any less of a university. It has small class sizes (largest I've been in was 90 students for a first year arts course) and in engineering the class sizes are even smaller with some of mines only having around 15 students, which really makes for a personal learning experience. You're not just another student name on a class list, the professors actually care about how you are doing in their courses. Also, I'm not sure if you know but there are standards that the university has to meet in order to teach. To be honest I'm not sure about other degree programs but for engineering there's a set standard that has to be met for universities to teach it. So in the end we're all learning the same thing, just depends on the experience you want to get out of it. Call me jealous because I don't go to a brand-name university, but I can't see what the big fuss is about. We'll all end up working in the workforce with a variety of people who went to a variety of universities and even, gasp!, people who went to a community college. So everyone just needs to get off their high horse because I'm sure every institution has their flaws.

  7. i know that sean has told me that macleans terribly misquoted him about the size of the town and its contents…for example sean said to the reporters quispamsis had a varierty of stores instead of just a variety store. If you did not find StFX special then its probably because you just stayed in your dorm all day acting depressed and didnt get involved. Partying is a choice and there are numerous societies to get involved in if you are not the party type. I personally also had a very nice conversation with Dr.Riley on the first day. The tuition rate you will find is actually on a freeze with the rest of the province and if you are comparing tuition to a second rate university such as UNBSJ, it is worth it for the reputation of the degree. I take great offence that you do not find STFX a special place. It is a wonderful institution with a family atmosphere. If you didnt enjoy it you must have been homesick and not really wanted to be here. So good riddance to you

  8. I take great offense that you think UNBSJ is second rate. What makes it as such? Have you ever been there? Sure it's Saint John but that doesn't make it any less of a university. It has small class sizes (largest I've been in was 90 students for a first year arts course) and in engineering the class sizes are even smaller with some of mines only having around 15 students, which really makes for a personal learning experience. You're not just another student name on a class list, the professors actually care about how you are doing in their courses. Also, I'm not sure if you know but there are standards that the university has to meet in order to teach. To be honest I'm not sure about other degree programs but for engineering there's a set standard that has to be met for universities to teach it. So in the end we're all learning the same thing, just depends on the experience you want to get out of it. Call me jealous because I don't go to a brand-name university, but I can't see what the big fuss is about. We'll all end up working in the workforce with a variety of people who went to a variety of universities and even, gasp!, people who went to a community college. So everyone just needs to get off their high horse because I'm sure every institution has their flaws.