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Sam Freedberg ’17

When he was a high school senior in North Carolina, Sam Freedberg ’17 almost tossed his recruitment letter from the Forester swim coach. This month, he set a meet record while swimming for Lake Forest College.

This economics and religion double major is a Forester you should know.

Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?

A: I first heard about Lake Forest College when I received a letter from the swim coach. At first, I wasn’t even considering replying to it, since I was looking mainly at schools in Ohio. My mom made me fill it out and send it back. She thought it looked like a good fit. I came up here for a swimming recruiting trip and loved every second of it. I stayed overnight in a quad with four swimmers. Everyone I met was welcoming, and I could tell I would get along well with a lot of them. It was October and snowy outside, which I wasn’t used to at all since it never gets below 25 degrees in North Carolina. I loved the campus anyway. 

Q: Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future career?

A: The Forester Day of Service has been huge for me. I’ve done that for two years and enjoyed it. I also work with children as a swim coach both here and in North Carolina. I like being a mentor. First semester junior year, I volunteered with North Chicago Community Partners. Every Tuesday and Thursday I went to Forrestal Elementary School and worked one-on-one with students not doing well in reading, writing, or math. There was one second grader who didn’t even have a complete grasp of the alphabet. But over the course of the semester, he improved. It was an amazing feeling to see that in his daily progress reports. That’s when I realized that, at least later in life, I want to teach. I haven’t found a feeling better than helping people to learn and grow, teaching and motivating them.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: In the very limited free time I have, I like to play sports with friends—soccer, football, basketball, or whatever other people want to do. I really like to read, too, mostly science fiction. My favorite author is Dan Abnett.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I have a loose plan: I want to lock down a job for a couple of years, anything from marketing to human resources to working with different nonprofits in the realm of economics. Later on, I would like to teach religion at the undergraduate level at a liberal arts college. So I’ll have to get my PhD, at some point. 

Q: Any advice for new students?

A: Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Come in with an open mind. You only get four years, so try different things, join different clubs. If I could go back and tell my freshman self one thing, it would be to not just go to the library, go to class, go to the caf, and go to bed. Step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and take classes you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy. You never know what interesting things you’ll learn.

Q: Parting words?

A: Every year goes by more quickly than the one before, so cherish your time here. Make a lot of memories, because it’ll be over before you know it. And, lastly, don’t be afraid to try; there’s nothing wrong with failure.