By 6:30 a.m. on a typical weekday, driven and vivacious Junior Amanda Hoffman’s day is already in full swing.
While most college students would appreciate the extra shut-eye, Hoffman sees her unusual morning routine as an opportunity to set herself up for success bypreparing her meals, organizing her schedule, and getting ready for class.
Especially as a busy communication studies major, Hoffman’s love for the early hours of the morning allow her to make the most of every day.
Her gift for time management began when she was a student at Sheboygan South High School in her hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. As a high school student, she was heavily involved in theater and musicals, as well as holding the position of speech team captain during her junior and senior years.
In addition to maintaining good grades and participating in extracurriculars, she also held multiple jobs during her high school years, including working at a consignment boutique.
Despite her hectic schedule, she still found time to remain close to her family. Back in Sheboygan, she lived with her mother and father, as well as her two beloved dachshunds Hershey (10) and Kessler (9).
Her parents were a great source of motivation for her when it came to applying for college. Both of Hoffman’s parents are graduates of technical school, and went on to pursue jobs in public service and engineering.
But, with Hoffman’s great gift for public speaking and performance, they encouraged her to broaden her horizons and apply for college, making her the first individual in her family to attend a four-year college.
Hoffman first fell in love with Gustavus as an attendee of the Gustavus Summer Speech Institute program, or GACSSI. This program provided high school students with the opportunity to earn a scholarship towards Gustavus tuition based on their skills in the area of speech and debate.
Her success in the competition, combined with her stellar grades and impressive extracurriculars made her a perfect addition to the Gustavus community.
“I came to Gustavus to be on the speech team because I appreciated how well the program wasmanaged, and I really liked the idea of going to a private, out-of-state college with smaller class sizes,” Hoffman said.
Once she arrived on campus, Hoffman jumped right in to campus life.
She got a job at the Telecommunications Office, where she does administrative work, and began to participate in the speech and debate team. She also decided to narrow her academic focus to communication studies.
“Majoring in communication studies was a natural choice for me. After taking the required public discourse course, I knew this was where I belonged.
With my speech and debate background, it was easy to pick. My favorite class so far has been Social Media with Professor Phil Voight,” Hoffman said.
Last year, when the campus’s formal speech and debate team was discontinued, Hoffman decided to take matters into her own hands and fight to preserve the tradition of speech at Gustavus.
In response, she became the president and co-founder of the Speech and Debate Club, which functions similarly to the old team except it is entirely organized by students.
“The student run speech and debate team allows for more opportunities or student leadership and input. Our group is unique because it runs exactly the same as any traditionalspeech and debate team, but it provides a chance for students to experience a leadership role and have more responsibility,” Hoffman said.
Aside from being a stellar student leader, Hoffman also has a rich and fulfilling personal life. On campus, she is a part of the Viking Society, and lives in the Swedish house.
Last summer, she moved to Manhattan, Kansas to live with her boyfriend of over a year, Adam.
Adam is a 2017 Gustavus alumni, and met Amanda during her first year on campus.“Adam has taught me a lot about being an adult, and always provides me with different perspectives and ideas to consider.
Living away from home with him has really helped me to develop life skills like cooking, organization, being assertive, and money management,” Hoffman said.
In the future, Hoffman looks forward to pursuing a career as an internal communication specialist, helping organizations refine and organize their communication strategies.
However, one of her ultimate career aspirations is to work as a speech writer. She also looks forward to getting a dog, specifically an Italian Greyhound, with her boyfriend Adam.
Though she has just one year left on campus, Hoffman is determined to leave a positive
mark on the Gustavus community. “For younger students, I think it’s important that they understand that their thoughts and emotions are valid, even when someone else doesn’t think they are.
They should try to join activities that will benefit them throughout their whole lives or give them tangible skills, and don’t overload themselves,” Hoffman said.
It is certain that Hoffman’s legacy will live on at Gustavus long after she graduates, especially through her initiative to save the Speech and Debate program.
However, her reputation of being positive, humorous, and inspiring to everyone she meets will follow her wherever she goes.
This is best said through the words of Hoffman’s friend and fellow communication studies major Skylar Abrego; “I have never seen Amanda not smiling. She brings so much drive and positive competition into the classroom, and is always hilarious,” Abrego said.