This article is part of an ongoing series in which students document their experiences, both on campus and beyond, from their unique perspective.  

Sammi Nelson ’21 is a Business Management major from Sugar Land, Texas — and a St. Edward’s Orientation Leader this summer. She’s excited to be connecting with new Hilltoppers via Zoom and helping them learn all about their new hilltop home. “I hope I inspire my students to get involved on campus, because when you least expect it, you’ll stumble upon one of the most enriching communities that shapes your college experience,” she says. Here, Sammi shares her typical summer day in this atypical time. 

Berry Smoothie

My favorite way to start my mornings is on my back porch with a fruit smoothie. My current blend is with berries, bananas and mangoes.

Blue & Gold Outfit

Picking out an outfit for Orientation has never been so easy ... blue and gold every day! Although I may not be face-to-face with students all the time, I like getting into the spirit from home.

Laptop & Desk

The first thing I do each day is check my email for any important updates. I decorated my desk to feel like I’m sitting right in front of Main Building, and my medallion is a constant reminder of where I started.

Sammi Nelson, Orientation Leader

Here is me, being way too excited for my very first session! Don’t let my smile fool you though, I was still extremely nervous! Thankfully everything went smoothly, and my students are amazing! I can’t wait to meet them in person.

Zoom Orientation Session

The best part of Orientation — catching up with my students! Topper Time allows us to get to know each other and chat in a group setting. Shout out to one of my groups, Herd Meets World, for bringing the energy!

Topper Best Friend

Sadie’s only 10-years-old, but she can’t wait to be a college student! Topper might have some competition ...

Lunch Break at Home

The most important meal of the day ... lunch! All of my sessions are in the afternoon, so I make sure to eat a big meal to get me through the day.

Sammi & Rania on Zoom

I love catching up with my Orientation Coordinator, Rania, every week! She is always available to answer my crazy questions and encourage me along the way. I couldn’t make it through this summer without her!

Laptop & Bed

When I’m not on a Zoom call, I like to send emails and talk to my students from the coziest place in my house ... my bed! Perks of working from home.

Homecoming Postcard

I miss the hilltop for many reasons, but nothing beats the people. This year I spent Homecoming with my RecWell coworkers, who are like a second family. 

Hilltopper Parents

It feels like just yesterday my parents were dropping me off for my first year of college. Now, I’m a senior, and they have all of their Hilltopper gear!

Walking with Music

If I was on campus, I would be doing a lot of walking, so I try to get my steps in during the evenings right before sunset to wind down. Listening to music is a must. This one song in particular reminds me of my freshman year walking up the hill from East Hall. 

Meditating Under a Tree

More About Sammi

What's your favorite part of Austin? The outdoor activities! Being from the Houston area, I don’t see hills often, if ever. I love the feeling of driving along rolling hills and going on hikes. Nothing beats the view at the top.

Describe your life on the hilltop in three words? Lost in conversation.

Tea or Coffee? Tea all the way. Thank you St. Ed’s for my newfound obsession with Chai lattes. Also, ginger peach tea from Jo’s — everyone needs to try it.

What’s a healthy habit you practice to cope in these challenging times? Meditation. It allows me to step away from my technological devices. I spend time thinking, breathing and centering — and sometimes I wear my St. Edward’s medallion to bring myself back to freshman year. As an Orientation Leader, it’s important for me to put myself in my students’ shoes and remember what it was like to begin college — the nerves, excitement and all!

Where do you see yourself after graduation? Being around people. Lots of them. When the world lets me. :)