Students get inspired by Honors Convocation

Yieng Xiong

English professor Rebecca Woolston spoke to students about her experience in the Honors Program at the Honors Convocation on Feb. 12.

More than 80 students in the Honors Program filled Hinde Auditorium in the University Union to hear Woolston speak about her life, education and goals.

Woolston told the students her story about limiting herself to one identity – being an athlete – up until she went to college. She had focused mainly on sports, rather than her academics, but after realizing athletics had failed her, she decided to focus on her academics. The summer before college, she applied and was accepted into the Honors Program.

However, after meeting other students in the Honors Program, who had been recruited or had taken multiple AP courses already, she felt maybe she didn’t belong in the program.

“I had to ask to be here,” Woolston said. “I thought that was normal. Then, I realized I wasn’t supposed to be here.”

After the first semester in the Honors Program, Woolston decided she needed to change after being in risk of being dropped from the program. Not only did she change her habits, she also used the identity she wanted to leave behind – being an athlete – as advantage.

She joined the rowing team, and it ultimately contributed to improvement in her academics.

“Rowing taught me how to apply myself… I took physical and mental growth into the classroom. I turned my academics around after the first semester,” Woolston said.

It was the Honors Programs that motivated her to do better.

“I found professors here who saw something in me that said ‘maybe on paper I shouldn’t be here, but there’s some kind of potential that needs to be unlocked,’” Woolston said.

Woolston said Sacramento State allowed her to live and create the life she wanted to live. She also encouraged the students at the Convocation to continue learning and discovering their goals.

“I never looked at college as a way to a career. I approached it as an education … Education is an experience. Why put an expiration date on it?” Woolston said. “Keep discovering your goals, and keep accomplishing them.”

Freshman Satvir Mann said Woolston’s speech was relatable on multiple levels, and it made her think she should try harder.

“She was so honest … It was inspirational,” said freshman nursing student Kaitlyn Whitney.

Currently, there are 266 active students in the Honors Program at Sac State. The program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.