Norman Hilker '22

Norman HilkerMajor: English

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

At first, it felt like something that I never knew could apply to me, but once I started participating in some of the activities that the FGEN program had to offer, I started to feel that my presence in a university was very important, and that feeling inspires me to want to do more and get the most out of my college experience.

What does it mean for your personally to be a part of the FGEN community and, specifically, to be a FGEN student ambassador?

It means that I'm at a stage in this experience where I can start passing torches down to upcoming students. It tells me that I've taken more than enough steps into the whole initiation of entering my adult life that I now have the tools to help others reach this point as well, and that's very inspiring.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

In my mind, the key is to never make giving up an option. As college students, especially when you're at UP, opportunities seem to knock on your door every day and though it may seem daunting at first, I guarantee there is always a way to navigate through all of that. But quitting is simply taking the easy way out, and it won't get you anywhere near as much as accomplishing only one thing a day.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

Yeah! In my freshman year, Ezedin was a very resourceful mentor who was so outgoing and always had a positive attitude like I had never seen. Every week or so, we'd catch up and he was able to answer any question I had regarding academics, social life, and the road to graduation and a career.

What resources have been significant, meaningful or helpful for you so far during your UP experience?

Matt Daily has been a one of a kind leader from the start of my college experience. His openness and his wisdom have really opened many doors for me in the last couple of years here, and I wouldn't have had the courage to walk through a lot of those doors if it wasn't for him.