One of the most genuine and sweet souls roaming the halls of the Campus Center is none other than sophomore, Norhan “Nora” Mohamed. She is from Bloomington, Minnesota, and currently studying Elementary Education as her major. Nora chose to be an Elementary Education major because of her previous experience working with kids since fifth grade.
She enjoyed serving as a mentor, working at summer camps, and being around such lively little ones. The main learning lesson she has gained from being a student in the Education Program is mistakes are essential for personal growth, and future educators can use those to improve teaching in the future.
“My peers are really awesome, and I get along with everyone really well. The profs are just amazing, and they care about their students so much which is really awesome.” Besides her field of study, Nora is also an incredibly active member of the Gustavus community. In terms of her involvement in music, she is a singer in the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Women’s A-Cappella, Social Justice Choir, and Vocal Jazz.
Nora appreciates how music unites the community by truly feeling at home, while also having the chance to spend time with compassionate, caring individuals passionate about the arts. The premise of Social Justice Choir is to sing about experiences which certain individuals or groups have gone through based on classic or contemporary pieces.
This year, the topic is focusing on the LGBTQ movement. Aside from her musical endeavors, she is also a member of “A Moment of Magic,” a non-profit organization that allows college-aged students to dress as Disney characters, and volunteer at children’s hospitals and homes. They provide creative programming for children who are medically vulnerable and are in need hopefully putting a smile on their faces. Nora dons the costume of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin.
“Seeing the reaction of the kids when you’re in the costume is really special. Some of the parents have told us that their child does not really approach people, but then they’ll come up and give us a hug once they see us, so that’s really powerful.” Some notable events she has participated in are the Juvenile Arthritis Walk, and the Walk to End Autism. Nora describes the important life lessons she has gained from being a Gustie these past two years.
This includes becoming more comfortable and confident with her identity by being surrounded by uplifting, positive people. She recounts the difficulty of branching out in high school, so being able to express herself in an open environment is what she cherishes here. One of the main reasons why she came to Gustavus was for the reputable choir program, but also the the kind heartedness nature of the campus.
She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to become a kindergarten teacher, and will eventually work towards getting her Master’s a few years later. Though she is open-minded about the road ahead, she hopes to use her communication skills when she interacts with professionals. Her passion to be a kindergarten teacher lies in using education to make a positive, heartwarming influence in a child’s life at a young age.
“Kindergarten’s really cool because it’s the starting of [the kids’] school career as [we’re] setting them up for success for the rest of their lives. The main things I really want to stress in my classroom is it’s a safe space, and I want everyone to be kind to one another. If you teach them that at a young age, hopefully it follows them throughout the rest of their schooling.”
Nora truly believes in the beauty of others by spreading the light amongst everyone she encounters. She loves to explore beyond what she is apart of by attending a diverse range of music concerts and theatre performances, while also celebrating multicultural events like Hmong New Year. As a thoughtful, dedicated individual, she has made her mark by making the most of her college experience. In regards to advice for incoming students and first-years, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Just come into college with a fresh start, and a fresh mindset. Also, stay focused and determined because you’re a student which is easy to forget sometimes when you’re transitioning. I definitely forgot that at times, but just remember that you have friends and resources to support you.”