When I joined the Honors Program, I didn’t realize the extent to which it would impact my life. The people I met in Bergstrom became my very best friends throughout my four years at SNC. In fact, all of my fondest college memories involve Honors Program students. For example, during my freshman year, the entire dorm saved up money to buy a giant spoon for John Becker’s door after a particularly intense game of Spoons. The year was marked by other fantastic memories, including Fr. Neilson’s perspective-changing Honors 101 lectures (which I still think about often), spaghetti dinners, movie nights, a visit to Rankin Lodge, the dorm-wide flu outbreak, Dom Drezdzon’s numerous naps on the kitchen floor, Life Raft (plus, of course, the cake), Wing Wednesday, and hours and hours of bonding. At the end of the year, I hugged all of my friends goodbye and cried the entire way home.
When I came back for my sophomore year, I moved in a day early because I was dying to get back to Norbs Nation and had the opportunity to talk to the incoming Honors class about my time in Bergstrom. Little did I know that later that year, I would become close friends with the same students that I spoke to (shout-out to Danny Wilson and the rest of the squad). The Honors Program essentially gave me a home away from home and a family away from my family. During the same year, I began working for Stacey Wanta in the Honors Office, where I had the opportunity to give back to the program after it gave so much to me. I really loved my job, and it allowed me to connect with so many other students within the program.
I also had the unique opportunity to travel to Spain with the Honors Program during the J-term of my sophomore year. I minored in Spanish at SNC, so the trip allowed me to apply what I had learned in class to what I experienced in person. While there, I communicated with the locals (including an 80-year-old man named Juan, who talked my ear off for an hour in an ice cream shop), learned about the Convivencia’s influence on Spanish architecture, and ate my weight in croquetas. I didn’t want to leave, but I am so grateful that the Honors Program gave me a piece of the world.
During my junior year, my roommates and I reconnected with some of our other Bergstrom friends, and the group of us shared tons of adventures together, from hiking excursions to the best Halloween costume party ever to “Friendsgiving” (which was our take on Thanksgiving). Even though half of us spent a semester abroad in the spring, we still kept in touch, visited each other in our respective host countries, and welcomed each other home upon our return to the States.
My senior year was as memorable as (if not more memorable than) my freshman year. I had the chance to reconnect with some friends from Bergstrom that I had lost touch with throughout the years. In fact, all of the best moments from my senior year almost exclusively involve Honors students, including Fr. Neilson’s perspective-changing art class lectures (in which I sat by Hayley Bertrand and Nick Stachowiak), Boyle Hall’s 100th birthday celebration, Dance Marathon, a Friendsgiving revival, a townhouse-wide bronchitis outbreak, game nights, the Honors Senior Banquet, baseball games, Wing Wednesday, and various graduate/medical school acceptances. At the end of my senior year (just as I did at the end of my first year), I hugged all of my friends goodbye and cried the entire way home.
The Honors Program gave me excellent academic opportunities, and it gave me even more valuable relationships. Without the Honors Program, I wouldn’t have met great mentors like Dr. Paul or Fr. Neilson, great co-workers like Stacey, Josh, Elisha, and Alexa, and great friends who became a second family to me. I will forever be grateful for all that the Honors Program has done for me. My college experience would have been far less enriching and exciting without it.