Scholars Speak: Guest Blog by Forman Scholar Emily Hill

Emily Hill shares her thoughts to our Scholars Speak student blog series. Emily is a senior at the University of Tampa where she majors in Allied Health with a concentration in Occupational Therapy.

Read on to hear about Emily’s experiences in college, challenges she’s overcome and the importance of embarking upon the college journey with an open mind and a positive attitude. 

What does pursuing a college degree mean to you?  

Obtaining a college degree is placing me one step closer to landing my dream job. 

What’s something you didn’t know during your first year in college that you wish you knew?  

When I was in high school, I was used to having close relationships with not only my fellow students but also my teachers. I wish I knew going into college that many professors have jobs and other responsibilities outside of teaching, so they aren’t always available at our convenience. Oftentimes students are expected to handle many issues on their own, in which they learn to overcome them and make the most of the situation at hand. 

What is your most memorable academic moment from your time in college? 

I had a professor completely belittle me, telling me that because I had missed one class I would never make it through the semester, let alone my chosen career. Although it was upsetting to hear, I used the conversation as a motivator and finished the class with an A. 

Tell us a time when you overcame a challenge. 

As with many other students, the abrupt ending of in-class instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic posed a major challenge to my education. My major is based around a substantial number of labs and practicum courses. As a result, many of my professors were unsure of how to deliver this essential instruction via remote learning. Though it was and still is tough taking lab courses via Zoom calls, I’ve discovered many resources to help gain much of the material I should be absorbing through dissections and hands-on learning. 

For people who may not know about the Foundation, what role has the Foundation played in your educational journey?  

Many people are aware of the fact that the Foundation offers Forman Scholars generous scholarships throughout all four years of their undergraduate studies. What many are not aware of is the fact that, as a Forman Scholar, I have complete and open contact with the Foundation’s staff, my fellow Scholars and even financial advisors – all of whom have helped me navigate the college experience. The Foundation also requires Scholars to complete a set number of community service hours a year, and this requirement has helped me venture out and make connections throughout the Tampa area. 

As someone who grew up in either Salem or the Salem area, how has your community shaped your upbringing, and what do you think is needed to ensure the best future for Salem? 

Growing up in a small town and attending small schools my entire life made moving over a thousand miles away to a large university a challenge; however, I am very grateful to have known what it’s like to be part of a close-knit community. I feel as if Salem High has done, and continues to do, a great job of encouraging students to live big and chase their dreams, while providing them the resources to help them do just that. 

If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who is applying for college, what would it be and why?  

Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Join a club, get involved on campus, actually say something fun or interesting about yourself during the endless ice breakers you’ll participate in. Just because you aren’t used to something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Going into college with an open mind and a positive attitude will allow you to create even more memories.