Now that we’ve had Admitted Students Day and are starting to see more high school seniors around campus for Senior Saturdays, a few SNC Honors students wanted to pass along some advice for some of the incoming freshmen. Moving from high school to college is a daunting step to take and can be an incredibly stressful time, but we wanted to let you know it shouldn’t be. You hear over and over again in high school that “that won’t slide in college,” but we laugh at that saying now. College isn’t the confining place with soul-crushing schoolwork that people make it out to be; it’s a place for you to grow in your academics and in your own skin, a place for you to find your people and your passions. A place to take interesting classes and go to fun events. Thank you to Hailey Johnson, Anna Bauer, Paris Riggle, and Madeline Sanderson as well as two Honors students who wished to remain anonymous for your thoughts about SNC and the Honors Program and pieces of advice!
St. Norbert offers so many opportunities for you to grow, and being in the Honors Program only adds to that with opportunities such as the National Collegiate Honors Council, which Paris highly recommends attending after she presented there last fall. Most people join to be a high achiever, surrounded by like-minded people, or because they thought it would look good on a resume, but the majority continue to stay in the Honors Program because of the people they meet. The community aspect of Bergstrom and the lounges are a great place to start friendships that last a lifetime and be surrounded by people in times you may need support. Some of the greatest memories made at SNC are made in Bergstrom, like watching movies or playing Mario Kart in the lounges. For some, these connections don’t come right away. It might take a while to find “your people,” but don’t stress too much about finding great friends when you have four whole years surrounded by amazing, smart, and caring people. Finding amazing people might take time, but it’s important to remember that “everyone is in the same boat as you, and everybody’s looking to make friends” and there are many great sororities, fraternities, and social groups that you can join if you’re looking for a group that feels like a family (M. Sanderson). With this mindset, if you’re having a hard time finding friends, it could be as simple as asking someone from one of your classes if you could meet them for a meal at the caf. “Don’t let nervousness and anxiety stop you from meeting new people. Don’t go through this new experience alone” (H. Johnson). Similarly, Hailey also gave great advice to not stress the little things. “Don’t waste time doubting yourself or thinking you don’t belong.” You do belong and even though you might not feel it all the time, it’s important to take time for yourself when you’re feeling down. That might happen, as Anna said, “it’s not worth it to stress over the future, as most of the time you cannot control what is coming your way. It is also okay if things don’t always go according to plan.” Yes, your schoolwork is important, but so is your personal health! A self-care day is needed every once in a while.
Taking breaks when needed is one of the most important tips when it comes to surviving your first year of college. It’s not a battle you’ll be fighting to get through, but it may be challenging. Keep reminding yourself that you can do it and keep a positive mindset. Anna says that friends are essential to surviving your first year and they will help you find fun despite having a heavy academic workload. Be present in the moment, talk to people, and explore your interests. Go to club meetings and don’t be afraid to go to events by yourself. Also don’t be afraid to talk to your professors or ask for help! Most, if not all, SNC professors are nice and approachable, and if they aren’t, don’t be afraid to ask your classmates for help or go to a Teaching Assistant, who was once a student in your very shoes!
Lastly, some of the favorite parts about being at SNC include close connections with professors, our own amazing sushi chef employed at Phil’s, the small size and inclusiveness with “something here for everyone” (Johnson). We also have Honors-sponsored events like Life Raft, where our favorite professors compete to be the sole survivor on a raft escaping a zombie apocalypse, Honors Trivia, and the Honors Christmas party, which always has a chocolate fountain and a mystery platter of strange foods to cover in chocolate provided by Dr. Mann (which has previously featured jalepeños, shrimp, and bleu cheese).
Whether you decide to join the Honors program or not, SNC is a great place to be with many amazing opportunities and fun events and classes for students. We’re so excited to meet the class of 2027 in the fall!