After being homeschooled her whole life, picking a college was a little intimidating for Hannah Swanson. She needed a place she felt safe. Somewhere she could get that four-year college experience, but still have the small college feel.
Enter Central Lakes College. After two years, Hannah is graduating this month with her Honors AA Degree, and she’ll also represent the Honors Program as a commencement speaker on May 16.
Growing up on the outskirts of Aitkin, Hannah was always surrounded by plenty of acreage, dogs, cats, a pony and a goat. With three older siblings and two younger ones, Hannah learned about CLC through the stories of her older brother.
“He came to CLC after high school and now he is getting his PhD, so I figured it was a good start for him,” she said.
Hannah, now 20, came to CLC after she graduated high school, which was taught by her mother.
“I wanted a small community college because I was transitioning from homeschool,” she said. Plus, she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do in life.
The transition was a bit intimidating at first. Hannah wasn’t sure of classroom etiquette. Should she make small talk with others before class? How often should she speak up during lectures?
Hannah spent a lot of her first semester in the library, but soon grew out of her shell and started getting involved. Today, she’s active in Student Senate, Phi Theta Kappa, Student Life events and is a member of the campus Lions Club.
She chose the Honors Program because her older brother had gone through the program and it was a nice accomplishment to add.
Her first Honors Program class was history with instructor Bob Brekken.
“Hannah has a deep commitment to learning and growing as a person,” Brekken said. “She wrote ‘I want to understand and be understood.’ A very creative person, Hannah wants to contribute and be involved, for her own improvement and the improvement of her community.”
Honors is definitely something Hannah would recommend to other students.
“Don’t be intimidated,” she said. “It’s going to require more dedication and you’re expected to do more, but all the work pays off in the end. Classes are smaller, so you get to know your classmates better… Don’t be discouraged when it gets tough. Embrace the experience and enjoy it.”
As for after CLC, Hannah is still deciding on a 4-year university, but she’ll likely go into elementary education. The rest of the future? The possibilities are endless.
Learn more about the CLC Honors Program: www.clcmn.edu/liberal-artstransfer-a-a-honors-program-2/