Sydney Shindler, ’23, Pre-Med

Everything’s bigger in Texas. There’s no messing with that – just ask any Texan.

But bigger isn’t always better… or the right fit.

For Houston native Sydney Shindler, she had been to a few of the huge Texas universities to visit friends or drive through.

“Whenever you're at those universities, they’re massive,” she said. “I know when I was in high school and our high school teachers would be preparing us to go to college, they’d just be like, ‘Oh, you just wait. You're going to be sitting in a lecture hall next year and you're just going to be a number.”

She was looking for more and Rockhurst University was different.

“It is a very small campus when comparing it to what I've been growing up used to,” she said. “But I mean, I still loved it. Small means everything's right here. I kind of like describing Rockhurst as it's in its own bubble. You have this city outside, and you can go out and do all this cool stuff. But at the end of the day, if you want to come back and just relax, it's not too much in the city where it's like you're trying to avoid traffic. It's you have the city, and then you have campus.”

Beyond the classroom, Shindler wanted to continue playing lacrosse after high school.

Rockhurst Women’s Lacrosse coach Molly McCourt was recruiting her to Kansas City to play goalie for the Hawks. Shindler liked the fact Rockhurst competed in NCAA Division II. A former high school teammate was recruited to Rockhurst a couple of years before, and that was the first time she learned about Rockhurst University.

“As I entered my junior year and started getting scouted, they reached out to me and I'm like, ‘Oh, Rockhurst again!’ So that's how I kind of first got to get to know the university is just through sports,” she said.

With the lacrosse box checked, Shindler looked at what academics RU offered a pre-med student.

“I came [to Rockhurst] and was talking to some of the counselors and just hearing all the options y'all had for academics, whether it's physics of medicine – that's my major – a lot of schools don't have that specific major.”

Academics: check.

“And then just where we sit in the city, y'all have five hospitals that are within a 10-mile radius, and that's a big deal, especially whenever I need to volunteer, whenever I need to shadow people,” she said.

Opportunities beyond the classroom: check.

Even with the research done and boxes checked, sometimes you just know a place is a good fit. Call it a feeling.

“Honestly, it feels like a different home,” she said. “It's just that feeling of belonging.”

Shindler chose Rockhurst so she could be more than a number, more than a student-athlete and get more than a classroom education.

"Rockhurst has a sense of community, of inclusion, and finding a home away from home, while you're growing to be your best self.”

In the end, for Shindler, Texas offered big. Rockhurst offered “more.”