Barry McNamara  |   Published January 27, 2020

‘Let It Happen How It Happens’

When visiting on Fellows and Scholars Day, Paige Smith urges students to be who they are.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Chalk up another outstanding match for Monmouth College by former admission counselor Peter Pitts.

One of the last students recruited to Monmouth by Pitts, who retired last spring after 27 years of service to the College, was Paige Smith ’23 of Oswego, Ill. Pitts worked with Smith to attend Monmouth’s 2019 Fellows and Scholars Day, which resulted in Smith being one of two students to receive a William J. and Beverly Goldsborough Scholarship, Monmouth College’s most prestigious and selective academic award.

PAIGE SMITH: A biology major on a pre-med track, she is a member of the Honors Program. PAIGE SMITH: A biology major on a pre-med track, she is a member of the Honors Program.Smith and her father made the trip to campus and arrived earlier than the scheduled time. That allowed Smith a little longer to gather her first impression.

“My dad and I just walked around a campus for a bit,” she said. “I remember how quiet and clean things were.”

Soon, interactions with Monmouth faculty began as part of the scholarship interviews. Smith used a philosophy consistent with her personality.

“I didn’t come in with a lot of expectations,” she said. “It was just talking to people. I just decided to let it happen how it happens. That’s how I tend to be.”

That’s the key piece of advice that Smith has for this year’s group of prospective students coming to campus Feb. 1 for 2020 Fellows and Scholars Day.

“Just be who you are,” she said. “You don’t have to put so much pressure on it. Don’t change yourself in trying to get things.”

It does help to have interesting experiences to bring up in the interviews, and some of Smith’s came from leadership opportunities at Oswego High School, where she was involved in BIONIC (Believe It Or Not I Care) and its offshoot organization, TALK, and was president of True Colors, a gay-straight alliance.

“BIONIC and TALK are all about establishing deeper connections with people,” said Smith. “One of the icebreaker-type things we do is play ‘If You Really Knew Me.’ It starts with something more superficial, like ‘If you really knew me, you’d know that I have seven dogs,’ but then it gets deeper and deeper. The more people know about each other, the less likely they are to be disrespectful of them. It’s all about promoting kindness.”

At Monmouth, Smith decided not get involved in many cocurricular activities beyond academics, at least initially, opting to “get a feel for college, to get acclimated.” However, through her scholarship interview, she was selected to be a Stockdale Fellow. Student members participate in a comprehensive four-year leadership development program.

A biology major on a pre-med track, Smith said her academic schedule contains “lots of science,” but she is also exposed to other academic disciplines through Monmouth’s Honors Program. The first Honors course she took was a study of madness, led by modern languages, literatures and cultures professor Keith Schaefer.

“That was probably my favorite class,” she said. “On the first day, I knew I was looking to drop a class, and I figured it might be that one, but after I sat through one day of class, I said, ‘I’m staying in this one for sure.’ It wasn’t lecture-driven. It was more of a discussion, kind of an organized chaos. It really pushed everything we thought we knew.”

Smith appreciates that type of learning, as she knew a year ago at this time that she was “looking for a smaller school. I was scared of the idea of being lost in a class. I really like that individual attention with the teachers.”

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p><strong>Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Pi Beta Phi, the first such collegiate women’s organization, was founded at Monmouth in 1867. It was followed three years later by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The two pioneering organizations today boast a total of 275 active chapters nationwide.</strong></p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>