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Medora Sweet ’17
Since setting foot on campus as a first-year student, Medora Sweet ’17 has maintained a fast pace of academic achievement and extra-curricular involvement that earned the Minnesota native the prestigious Lincoln Laureate award.
The Lincoln Academy’s Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Awards are presented to seniors from each of Illinois’ colleges and universities. As the College’s 2016 recipient, Sweet earned a medallion, a $1,000 educational grant, and a certificate of achievement.
This studio art major and digital media design minor is a Forester you should know.
Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?
A: “I knew I had to be close to a large city, because I live right in St. Paul, Minnesota, and that connection is important to me. Also, diversity was a big factor. I came from a public inner-city high school, very underfunded, where only 20 percent of the students were white. I love having diversity and being around people who have different world experiences. When I came on campus for a tour, I heard lot of people speaking different languages in the Caf, walking through the library, everywhere. I knew I needed to be here. There were a lot of other schools I loved, but they didn’t have that same amount of diversity.”
Q: Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future?
A: “I’ve always been one of those people involved in everything. I’ve been in choirs my entire time here, and I’ve been heavily involved in PRIDE and Photography Club. I’ve had many jobs, both on-campus and off-campus. I’ve done a lot of design for the school—in the art department, the music department, the Office of Intercultural Relations, as well as for PRIDE and Active Minds. For the first time this year, I was involved in First Connection. It was an incredible experience to be in the mentor role with younger people. It’s a very family-type feel. I still see most of my First Connection babies almost every day, whether it’s in the Caf or just passing by. We say hello and hug each other. It’s great.”
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: “In my free time, I tend to dream about my school bus conversion road trip that I’m going to do in a few years. I have everything planned out for the layout of the bus and where I’ll travel. I also like designing tattoos for myself and my friends. I suppose you could also say I do my portrait photography business in my free time, too, since it’s not a huge focus in my life right now, although I’ve been at it for over three years.”
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: “My plan, so far, is to be a Franciscan nun. After I graduate in May, I’ll have a couple of months during the summer where I’ll continue polishing my portfolio and resume. Then for the next school year, from August to the following July, I’ll be at St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul. I’ll either have an internship or a job during the day and live with other young people who are discerning religious life. We’ll eat meals together in the evening and on the weekends we’ll do activities. It’s a whole year of trying to figure out if this community life is right for you or if religious life is right for you. When I look back on my whole life, the only thing I’ve always been consistent with is I want to help people. It doesn’t matter what it is. I don’t want to live on this earth if I can’t devote my life to doing God’s work.”
Q: Any advice for new students?
A: “Keep an open mind, even if you think you know what you’re going to major in or even if you think you know what you want to do after you graduate or even if you know what you want to do in half an hour, keep an open mind and don’t shy away from experiences that might scare you but can end up being really good in the long run.”
Q: Parting words?
A: “Peace & sloths.”