Name: Samantha Hardy
Hometown: Oakridge, Oregon
High School: Oakridge High School
College/University: University of Oregon
Year in school: Junior
Activities involved in on campus: I have been doing a lot of volunteering in elementary school classrooms. I also work part-time so I don't have as much time as I would like for extra activities.
What/who was the biggest influence on your decision to go to college?
I had absolutely no intentions of attending a University when I was in high school, in fact I had no idea that I was even capable of being accepted. It stayed this way until my senior year when my school counselor, Lori Skordahl, suggested that I apply for universities just to see what would happen. Turns out I was very capable of attending a university and I was accepted to every university in the state of Oregon. If it wasn't for Lori I wouldn't have had enough confidence in myself to attend the University Of Oregon.
What is one of the best things about college?
The best thing about college is the variety of classes you can take and topics that you can learn about. When you are in middle school or high school it isn't really about "you." You are told what to take and you don't have many options to choose from when it comes to classes. When you go to college though, you find that it has a lot more to do with yourself and who you are as a person. You can choose what you are interested in and it makes it a lot easier to be involved in your school work.
What was your most memorable GEAR UP moment?
Spending time with the staff was a great experience that I will never forget. I participated in a few of the GEAR UP events and the staff was always full of enthusiasm and humor. They really do care as much as they say they do!!!
What are your future career plans?
I have always wanted to help people in some way. Whether it is being involved with GEAR UP or being a counselor, I know that helping others is the right career choice for me.
I have a lot of experience with addiction and have seen firsthand what it can do to families, for me it was families in low income communities. So, I would love to be involved with helping students better their lives, even when they are in bad situations.
What advice do you have for students currently in middle and high school GEAR UP programs?
My advice would be to always set goals for yourself and never lose ambition. I will tell you this; my hardest time during college was when I lost ambition and lost sight of my goals.
College has its struggles, just like anything else in life, but if you want something bad enough you can get it. I realized this myself and now I always set goals whether they are short term or long term. I always liked the quote, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." Something cool to remember (-: