Alumni Profile – Sarah Peffer
1. How long were you homeschooled through Seton, and what did you like about the experience?
I was homeschooled through Seton for 13 years, beginning in kindergarten in 2002 until I graduated in August of 2015.
Looking back, I can honestly say that the thing I loved most about Seton is the English courses. As a result, I was exposed to fantastic books which kindled my love for classic literature. The History courses were also excellent, particularly the books written by Anne Carroll.
Because of those Seton courses, I am now excelling in my English and History classes at the college level.
2. Where did you go to college, and what is your degree?
I am currently a student in my freshman year at Aquinas College in Nashville. I’m working on my Bachelor’s degree as an English major in the School of Arts and Sciences, and at the moment, I am considering a minor in the School of Business.
3. How did your Seton education help you navigate the college experience?
Multiple professors here at Aquinas have asked me where I went to high school, my English professor, Sister Mary Madeline Todd, O.P. in particular. When I told her I was home schooled, she asked me right away if I had done Seton.
When I replied that I had, she smiled and said, “I knew it! I’ve taught some Seton graduates before, and I’ve almost gotten to the point where I can tell if I have any Seton grads in a class because all of you write excellently.”
I got straight A’s for my final grades for the Fall 2015 semester, my first semester of college and can only give Seton the credit for that accomplishment. Because of the wide subject range of Seton, I was able to excel in college courses involving English, Algebra, Music History, Theology, and more. Now, this semester I’ve added a World History course and a Business class to that list, and all is well so far.
Seton helped me to recognize my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to school, and the program also helped me to learn how to manage my time. For example, I know that while I am good at writing papers at the last minute because I work best under pressure, I also have a bad habit of procrastinating, a habit I would like to change.
4. What are you doing now?
As I said before, I am currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, working on my Bachelor’s degree in English at Aquinas College, a Catholic college run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.
When I go back to my home in the North Georgia mountains on breaks, I work as a Team Leader at my local Chick-fil-A, where I have been working for the past three years, ever since my sophomore year of high school.
5. What gives you passion or motivation in your current occupation?
There are many things that drive me. The first and foremost of these, I would have to say, is God Himself and my faith in Him. I know for a fact that I would never have gotten to where I am now without Him to guide me. Trusting Him has not always been easy for me, but it has definitely been worth it!
Aquinas has a perpetual adoration chapel on campus, the only chapel in Nashville that offers 24-hour Adoration, and being able to go there to pray whenever I need to has been a huge blessing and has sparked a deeper conversion within me ever since I first came to Aquinas in the fall.
Something else that has motivated me in my studies is the friendships I have made since coming here. Aquinas is a small school made up of about 500 students, and 50-60 of these students live on-campus, including me.
The residential students come from all over the United States, and every single one of them is so passionate about learning and about their Faith… it’s such a beautiful thing to experience! As a result, I have formed so many friendships with people from all over the country, friendships that I know will last for many, many years to come.
The girls who live on my floor have been especially kind to me – there are so many of them who I know I can count on if I ever need anything, whether it be a late-night cramming session for a big test the next day, a pizza-and-movie night to help us all to relax, or an emergency Kroger run because I forgot to buy food. Each and every person here is amazing in their unique way, and I feel so incredibly blessed to know them!
Finally, I really do have a deep love and a passion for what I’m studying. I have loved to read ever since I learned how, and have been writing my stories, songs, etc. ever since I was 11 years old. Therefore, the decision to pursue an English major in college was a no-brainer for me.
I’m only in my 2nd semester of college, so I’m only in English Composition II at the moment, but I have loved every minute of it!
6. Any advice for current Seton High-Schoolers?
If I could give just one bit of advice to those of you who are currently trying to finish high school with Seton, it would be this: Keep fighting the good fight. Believe me, I understand EXACTLY what you’re going through.
My junior and senior years of high school were so crazy that I’m still not sure how I ever lived through them and still finished on time. I was working part-time at Chick-fil-A, and during my senior year, I was promoted and started working 25 hours a week while still trying to finish Seton.
There were days where I didn’t do any school because I was too tired from working late the night before. There were nights where I only got 2-4 hours of sleep because I would be working on school after getting home late from work.
I didn’t officially finish Seton until 2 ½ weeks before I left for college. Seriously, the date of graduation on my high school diploma reads August 5, 2015; I moved into Seton Lodge here at Aquinas on August 19.
Listen, I know Seton is hard. I know that there are some days (even most days!) when it weighs on you, and you are just so unmotivated, and you feel as though you’ll never finish. I can’t tell you how many days like that I experienced in my last two years of high school. But take it from someone who knows: you WILL finish.
Just realize that it doesn’t all depend on you; you have God on your side, and if that’s not enough reassurance for you, just remember that you have your parents and the people at Seton who want nothing more than to help you succeed. Seton is very hard, yes, but trust me: someday it WILL be worth it.
Last semester, I got an A in my College Algebra class because all the concepts we covered I already knew from my senior year doing Advanced Math with Seton (and I’m not that good at Math either!).
I’m praying for each and every one of you who is fighting through Seton high school. Yes, their expectations of you ARE high, but they are not unattainable. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that “You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.”
High school with Seton will challenge you, and it will most certainly test your limits; but it will also give you a strong foundation for greatness – not just in the amount of knowledge it can give you, but also in the discipline it takes to make it through Seton.
You CAN do this! Be brave and keep your eyes on the prize! Say with St. Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this!”
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