Scholars Speak: Guest Blog by Forman Scholar Sarah Sharp

Sarah Sharp shares her thoughts to our Scholars Speak student blog series. Sarah is a junior at Stockton University, where she is majoring in psychology. 

Read on to hear about Sarah’s experiences building relationships with her professors, the advice she has for applying to college and her vision for the future of Salem. 

What does pursuing a college degree mean to you?  

By pursuing a college education, I’m opening myself up to many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

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

Don’t be afraid to go to your professors’ office hours at the beginning of the semester just to meet them and get to know them better. It will make all the difference later on in your college career when you have them again in class and/or need a letter of recommendation. 

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

Last fall, I took a social work course with a professor I never had before. I went to her office hours during the second week of class to introduce myself and get to know the professor better. From that point on, she always remembered my name and would speak to me when she saw me outside of class. Now she is one of my academic advisors, and I’ll be taking classes with her in the future. Taking the time to forge that relationship has definitely paid off. 

Tell us a time when you overcame a challenge. 

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in college is balancing my school, work and social lives. In my first year of college, I would stay up as late as 5:00 AM either with friends or with my homework, and I’d have to be up the next morning for my 8:30 AM classes. It took me a while to learn how to properly juggle my school work, job, friends and even self-care time for myself. 

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

The Foundation has allowed me to attend a four-year college and, on top of that, remain debt free the entire time. As someone who aspires to one day attend medical or graduate school, the Foundation has allowed me to save money for my future post-undergraduate education. By alleviating the financial stress and worry that often accompanies the college experience, the Foundation has allowed me to focus on excelling in my courses and jump-starting my career.  

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 Salem instilled in me the importance of serving others and giving back to the community. To ensure the best future for Salem, I believe the community requires resources, programs, a sense of unity and individuals willing to help build Salem back better. 

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

Apply to a variety of schools – large, small, urban, rural, in-state, out-of-state, etc. – and make sure to visit as many as you can. When you view schools online, your perception of them will often be different than if you were actually on campus in person.