Back in the Classroom

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With the first few days of classes now behind them, we figured it'd be fun to ask Minnesota's two freshmen - Joanna Hedstrom and Stabresa McDaniel - as well as the Gophers' two seniors - Sari Noga and Micaella Riche - some questions about the first week of the 2013-14 academic calendar.

Tell us about your first week of classes. Has it been what you expected? Any funny/interesting stories?

Joanna Hedstrom: "My first week of school has been exciting! I have some really cool profs, and I'm excited to see how college compares to high school. A story from my first day is when I was introducing myself in my athlete class, and I was so nervous that I said, 'I play blasketball.' It was embarrassing!"

Stabresa McDaniel: "The first week of school has been pretty good so far. The classes are bigger, and you meet a lot of new people. The classes I take have been what I expected. We learn new fun and interesting topics that keep me engaged in class."

What class are you most looking forward to?

Joanna Hedstrom: "The class that I'm looking forward to the most is my honors public speaking class, because I want to get better at giving speeches. I'm also excited to meet some new people in my management courses through the Carlson school."

Stabresa McDaniel: "The class I'm looking forward to the most will have to be my lifetime health and wellness class. I enjoy the discussions that we have in class, and the new things we learn."

Tell us about your "last, first day of school."

Sari Noga: "I don't think it has quite hit me yet that it was my last first day. It has been about 16 years that I have gone to school, and I think I will be excited to be done, but know I will miss it, too."

Micaella Riche: "I was so ready to go! I know the process. I know the steps, and it's my seventh semester, so bring it on!!"

Is it difficult for you to believe that almost four years has gone by since you first arrived on campus?

Sari Noga: "No one can really prepare you for the statement of 'college goes by fast.' I really can't believe that almost 4 years of college has gone by. It literally feels like it was yesterday I was going to my first college class."

Micaella Riche: "It's unreal. People have always told me it goes by fast, but this is a whole new definition of 'fast'! My experience at Minnesota has been so amazing, and I've grown so much. I'm so blessed and grateful."

What's been one of your favorite classes?

Sari Noga: "One of my favorite classes in college was Death and Dying Across Cultures and Religions. I found it really interesting learning the different funeralization processes there were for each religion."

Micaella Riche: "My favorite classes have all been with professor (Stacy) Ingraham. Her classes are mainly discussion-oriented, and that's where I've found myself learning the most."

What are you majoring in, and what do you hope to do after graduation?

Sari Noga: "My major is mortuary science, and I plan to become an intern funeral director at a funeral home in Minnesota."

Micaella Riche: "I'm majoring in kinesiology, and I'm not sure yet (what I'll do for a career). I would like to play professionally, possibly overseas. Otherwise, I'd love to get certified as a personal trainer, or to get certified as a Yoga and Pilates instructor. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to start my own business to train high-profile clientele."

Do you have any other thoughts about your final year as an undergraduate?

Sari Noga: "I am excited for this school year. Between the practical courses I will be learning in my major, and starting my senior year of basketball, I am thrilled to see what this year has to offer."

Micaella Riche: "It's my last one, the home stretch, the '4th quarter!' Let's get this done. I'm ready for it!"

With this school year underway, the Gophers are hoping for continued success in the classroom. Last year, five members of the Golden Gophers were named to the Winter Academic All-Big Ten Team, including both Noga and Riché. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten honors, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.

During head coach Pam Borton's 11 seasons at Minnesota, her Golden Gopher players have recorded Academic All-Big Ten recognition 74 times, which is the most among all Big Ten Conference women's basketball programs. Additionally, Minnesota has earned a team GPA of at least 3.0 during every year of Borton's coaching tenure.

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