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South Carolina Honors College

Benno Sauermann

Ask me about… coming in from out of state, changing majors, pre-law, getting involved on campus, and the English major!

I am a senior English major from Philadelphia, PA. I am also pursuing a History minor. I hope to obtain a JD and PhD after graduation and become a law professor, potentially focusing in either legal writing or healthcare law.

Favorite music: I love J-Rock music. It is extremely diverse, ranging from alternative to punk to soft rock. There is always something to listen to! I also enjoy its derivative, J-Pop, along with various English language rock and alternative bands.

Favorite novel: Wuthering Heights. Before English, my first major was Pre-Pharmacy. While in the second general education Chemistry class, calculating mole concentrations began boring me to tears, so I knew that I was going to switch my major, but I did not know what subject to pick. I took part in various pharmaceutical studies across campus (they awarded Amazon gift cards) to fund my book buying, and one day I decided to buy Wuthering Heights because it was on sale. I enjoyed it to the point that I switched my major to English almost immediately after reading the last page. It is the last book I read before becoming an English major, so it will always hold some sentimental value.

An honors class I recommend: Storytelling in the Law. I took this class in Fall 2016 because, while law school seemed like a good idea, I did not know whether I truly wanted to pursue a legal career. My honors advisor recommended this class, and it helped me decide that I do want to attend law school. Over the course of the semester, the class learned the basics of the legal system, created an original case (right down to the location and crime), and either prosecuted a criminal or defended our client. I highly recommend taking classes Honors classes like these where you can decide and explore what you want to do after graduation, whether it is law, medicine, or none of the above.

What I’m currently reading: They Say, I Say by Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff. For my senior thesis, I am adjusting the Peer Writing Lab’s assessment to increase its focus on tutor reflection and to promote detailed responses from students. This book helps with that objective because it details common difficulties students have when writing essays and how to work through those difficulties, using templates, to produce better essays. While it may seem like a boring thesis book, They Say, I Say has helped me become a better writer because it has allowed me to reflect on my writing and observe multiple successful writing styles.

My secret: Sometimes, I think Katherine Farrell is funny.

My advice to prospective students: Stand out. The Honors College looks for students who have a love for learning and a desire to make a difference both inside and outside the classroom. Do this in the field or subject you love! Join an interesting club, play an awesome sport, or (like I did) talk about bacon and pseudo-pharmaceuticals in your application essays.

My advice to current students: Take your time; college is not a race. It feels like I arrived on campus for orientation only yesterday, but now I am a junior. Take advantage of as many fun opportunities as you can during your time here. Make college an experience to remember!

My favorite thing about the Honors College: There are so many options to choose, but the Honors College’s sense of community strongly impresses me. All students that I have met and made friends with so far are nothing but helpful and passionate, and the constant stream of events like Flotilla and Bedtime Stories have kept me up to date with everyone. The Honors College’s devotion to building a community rather than a mass competition has truly made my college experience unique, and it is definitely the people that I will remember in 50 years.

My reason for choosing the SCHC: As a first-generation student, I had no idea what to expect from college. I abhorred the college selection process because there were myriad forms and applications to fill out, and so many possibilities for mistakes. When I toured the SCHC, my fears evaporated. I appreciated the SCHC’s dedication to multiple styles of learning, specifically through the Honors curriculum and its “customization options.” Moreover, I enjoyed the collaborative, rather than competitive, community within the Honors College because I knew it would give me the opportunity to meet a diverse array of people who would help each other through their college careers, both academically and socially.