By Susan Allen, Lisa Strandberg and Stefanie Trinkl ’14
They’re brand-new.They’ve been moved into their res hall by their parents; been brought here to Convocation by their FYE mentors; been cheered along the mall by the faculty; been seated on the plaza in front of Main Hall; been addressed by the president; been welcomed by the dean; been blessed bya campus minister.
Convocation moments through the lens. >>MORE
Now it’s their time: they sing the “Alma Mater”; touch the Convocation bell for good luck; find their friends. The campus picnic awaits, with live music and fireworks to round out a pretty significant day. Tomorrow, they start class.
They stand at the threshold, about to step into the remarkable four-year experience that is an undergraduate education. Can we ask them for their hopes and dreams for the next four years? What’s on their minds at this liminal moment, the beginning of it all?
They’re wondering if they’re ready for college-level work and if they’ll be able to find their first class tomorrow morning. If their classmates will be smarter than them and if they’ll like their professors.
They have left one nest and are creating another in a room 14 feet by 9.5 – that they share with someone who was a stranger to them until last week.
- Megan Kowaleski: My dream is to graduate in four years, with a job! I’m excited – and nervous for class.
- Jamie Karrels: I’m dreaming of being prepared to live on my own. Right now, I’m overwhelmed!
- Maria Rhein: I’m looking forward to getting a good education and having fun. I’m excited to learn, I really like learning!
- Celeste Block: I’m excited, not nervous. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be nervous!
- Jon Menzel: My plan is to study hard and stay out of trouble.
- Clifford Vogel- Gosik: I want to to do everything but sleep.
They’re dreaming of majors and future careers, internships and extra-curriculars, a semester abroad and the dean’s list.
- Nicole Meyer: My dream is to find a friend who can do my laundry for me!
- Lauren Bendt: I’m feeling sort of nervous. Excited but, like, calm all at the same time. Because it feels like this is where I’m supposed to be. All the students that I’ve met over the past couple of days – it makes it feel like home. You’re not a number, you’re a name.
- Matthew Matuszak: Right now, I’m feeling hot! I miss my air conditioning!
- Becca Vanden Burgt: I guess I just hope to make it a good experience – to get as much out of it as possible. I’m really excited just making new friends.
They’re the fourth generation of their family to attend St. Norbert or the first in their family to go to college. They grew up in De Pere or half-way round the world.
- Sarah Kate Amann: I want to become a published author.
- Austin McCourt: My dream is to make a name for myself in broadcasting.
- Beth O’Hara: My dream is to be a teacher at my old high school. I love the teachers that I had there. I just want to be able to bring that to another generation.
- Emily Gossens: I want to get a job I love.
- Brett Fowler: I hope to succeed in what I want to do. I want to be a park ranger in a national park. I just want to be really, really close to nature.
- Cailee Gates: My dreams are to travel the world and meet different people with different experiences – and be able to do that through art and communications.
- Zach Werginz: I want to be an astrophysicist eventually. I’d like to get into a research program here with some of the physics professors because I know that they’re really cool. I’m going to ask about it tomorrow – that’s when we start class!
They’ve been dreaming of this moment for years: the moment when they step into the right shoes and become philosopher or poet, activist or student-athlete, leader or world-changer.
- Ayane Okura: I want to see all over the country and the people. I’m excited, I heard American school is very hard to follow in class. Japanese college is very easy, so I want to study hard here.
- Ben Nolan: Making friends is a big part of college. I like meeting people, making friends, having genuine relationships. So far it’s been good – really good.
- Silas Gilliam: My great-great uncle was Father Burke [the Rev. Dennis Burke, O.Praem., ’26, second president of the college]. It all seems right. My dream is just to reach my goals of being happy in life. These first few days have felt like summer camp. I don’t know what to expect next, but I feel like it’s about to get very real.
- Bryant McCray: My dreams are to be able to lead organizations into a different era. I want to bring more diversity in terms of the way that the student body views different cultures. That’s what I’m excited about!
- Ben Nicholas: I slacked off a lot in high school. I don’t want to do that any more. I want to straighten up, know what I mean? And I think this is the place to do it.
- Marco Rodriguez: I’m looking forward to getting to know more people. I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring the world through study abroad and service trips. I want to join the ALIVE team. I just love the programs here.
- David Yanda: When I run into someone on campus I want to think, I should remember their name, because I’ll see them again. I’m going to get to know all these people. I’m going to get to know my professors. I haven’t met one of them that I didn’t like. That’s phenomenal! By the end of these four years I just want to come out a nicer person. When you have a family – a wife, children – don’t you just work to be a nicer person? I think that’s what I’m looking for, what I hope for the most – becoming the best person I can be.