Full Name: Grace Renate Smoot
Home Town: Catonsville, Maryland
Major: Environmental Biology
Minor: Environmental Chemistry
Expected Semester of Graduation: Spring 2019
Why did you join the Honors College?
I wanted to be part of something that would provide a close-knit community environment and that would challenge me intellectually. Who are we kidding, Reighard is pretty awesome too!
How has the Honors College shaped your experience at Millersville University?
In too may ways to count! I am an out-of-state student from an all-girls, small Catholic high school. Transitioning to Millersville was the most drastic thing I've done so far, but looking back it didn't feel drastic at all. If you ask anyone in our dorm, Reighard Hall, what the the best thing about the Honors College is everyone immediately says (or thinks) "Community". Since I didn't know anyone, I was basically starting from square one. Sharing a room was a new experience in itself! But honestly, I've never been able to call so many people my closest friends. I'm a very shy person until you get to know me and then I open up, but the ease at which I was able to make friends and feel "at home" in the Honors College speaks volumes to the program itself. I am a more confident, self-assured woman today because of the people I've met here and I can't say thank you enough for that.
What was your favorite honors course? Why?
The Honors Zoology Seminar. It was a very difficult once a week class, but it challenged me to think and helped me develop my oral presentation skills. The theme of the course was "The Endangered Species Act" and every week we had to read the recovery plan, a plan to save the species from extinction, of a certain species. One person presented on the species and then we had a discussion afterwards about it. Talking about Ecology and Conservation relates directly to my major and since I would like to work in that sector once I graduate, I really connected with the class.
What was your favorite honors professor? Why?
Dr. Haines, my Zoology Seminar professor, by far because he is so knowledgeable about everything involving conservation biology. He treats you like a young professional and expects nothing but your best work which I really admire.
How many credits do you typically take?
Between 16-18 usually. It depends on how many labs I am taking!
What other organizations have you been a part of?
Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, Biology Club, Biology/Zoology/Botany Tutoring, Botany Lab Technician, Honors College Student Association, Honors College Student Worker.
What leadership roles have you had on campus?
Honors College Student Association Public Relations Chair (2016-2017) and Co-Leading the 2017 PASSHE Honors Student Development Conference.
What was your favorite Honors College event? Why?
New York by a landslide. I had never been to New York before last years trip so I thought it was amazing to be able to experience that "first" with my closest friends. The trip only cost $22, but $20 is just to hold your place on the bus and make sure you show up so you get that money back! Also, being able to see a Broadway play was incredible in itself but we also had amazing seats. Definitely a "first" I will never forget!
What does your typical day look like?
Wake up at 6:45 (yes I am an early bird) and eat/get ready. Go to either my 8am MWF or 9am TR. Grab lunch around 11 and head to my afternoon classes which end at 2. Then I'll either head to work in the Honors College House or to the gym for a daily sweat session. At 5pm we go to dinner as a friend group, and then I'll either start homework, go to Bible Study, go to a night Physics lab, or Tutor Biology depending on the day. Bedtime is typically between 11:30pm and 1am.
What advice would you give to incoming Freshman?
Live in the present and not the past/future. There is always going to be classes to worry about and busy schedules to maintain, but just take each day as it comes. Don't over stress about things you can't control (easier said than done). Forgo studying that 1 extra hour to spend time with a friend, go on a spontaneous Sheetz run at 3 in the morning, or go caving with friends (yes we actually do that). Sure, a degree is the main reason you go to college, but I think the most important things you get out of college are lasting friendships and personal growth. And you can't do that unless you live a little more and stress a little less.