Paige Owen grew up in Mishicot, WI, twenty minutes away from Silver Lake College, but it wasn’t until much later that she decided to attend the school.
In fact, Owen began her freshman year of college at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin to study music. After having been involved at Lawrence’s music program in high school via their high school honor band, private lessons, and band camp, applying to Lawrence seemed like the logical next step.
And when Owen was accepted into the program, it was a no-brainer; Lawrence’s prestige was a big draw.
“If you get into Lawrence, you go to Lawrence,” she explained to me over the phone.
Choosing another path
Owen’s mother worked as a religious education coordinator at a Catholic parish in a neighboring town for many years. Owen grew up helping with this ministry, from doing office tasks to being a religious aid for an elementary school classroom.
When Owen got into Lawrence, her mother posted a note on Facebook about it, and a friend responded.
“One of my mom’s friends from when she was a youth minister saw that post,” Owen recounted. “He was like, ‘Hey, your daughter goes to school half a mile from where our church is — send her over!’”
Following this connection, Owen did get involved at St. Joseph Catholic Church’s youth ministry. And it was while she attended a youth conference that she began to feel that she belonged somewhere else for college.
“As I took a step back and saw all the young teens enjoying themselves and immersed in the Holy Spirit, I just felt like it was something I could see myself doing almost on a regular basis,” Owen told me, and said she began to consider a degree in theology. She also desired an atmosphere that encouraged spiritual development.
“At Lawrence, music is your Jesus and your religion,” she admitted. “I have a dedication to my music and my studies, but my faith is more important than that.”
Making a new home
Owen considered Franciscan University of Steubenville, but the Ohio school was too far away from home for her liking. Owen’s family knew Dan Connolly, Silver Lake’s Director of Retention and Enrollment Services, and he helped her get through Silver Lake’s application process quickly.
After a tour of the school — Owen noted how friendly the students were (“It was a very pleasant experience!”) — and an acceptance letter, she began classes at Silver Lake that following semester, after just a few months at Lawrence.
How is it different?
“A lot of it is the size. Lawrence was literally the population of Mishicot,” she said, and laughed. “Then you come to Silver Lake, where it’s about 600 people, and you pretty much know everyone.”
Owen also noted the dedication of her professors. Despite initially being attracted to a theology degree at Silver Lake, she has continued her music education.
“The teachers are willing to put in the time outside the classroom with you,” she said. “They’re willing to work with you.”
Do you have any advice for other transfer students?
“Make sure to come and actually sit with your professors and talk to them,” Owen advised. “Talk about your questions.
“And another thing: go and eat lunch in the cafeterias! I did that with my friend who goes to Silver Lake, and it can make the biggest impression, knowing the students and how they react to a new person in their environment.”
I asked her what she thought when she ate in Silver Lake’s cafeteria during her visit: “It was really welcoming!”
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