5 Things I Learned

Breckin Sontz '25

Welcome to our 5 Things I Learned blog series, where UNH students from all colleges and majors share the UNH experience that changed everything for them and what they learned from it. From studying abroad and summer internships to research and leadership in student organizations, follow along to see what you can learn by stepping out of your comfort zone and saying "yes" to that new opportunity on our campus.

Today, Breckin Sontz '25 discusses how to find the confidence within yourself to take on a leadership position in a student organization and what can be learned from trying something new.


Breckin Sontz '25, Health Science Major (Minor in Child Life)

5 Things I Learned as

President of UNH American Sign Language Club &

Vice President of UNH Health Science Club


UNH student in front of T Hall

Thompson Hall is my favorite building in the fall and winter because of the beautiful architecture and the trees around it. 

1. Being Confident in Myself and My Academic Work

Reflecting on my life, I see a deep lack of confidence in myself and my academic abilities, but since entering college in 2021, I have discovered that the perfection I sought and previously believed to be necessary is not attainable, nor is it necessary for academic and social success. My personal evolution has truly skyrocketed by being elected President of the UNH American Sign Language Club and Vice President of the UNH Health Science Club. These positions have opened many doors for me and offered me endless opportunities to gain valuable strength as a leader. In becoming a leader, I have been able to show others that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them and that a need for perfection only adds anxiety to one’s tasks.

UNH American Sign Language Club

I am President of the UNH American Sign Language Club

2. Putting Myself out There and Trying New Things

Trying new things and meeting new people are not usually comfortable, but these skills allow one to grow. Coming to college, I didn’t know anyone or anything about the college experience. I quickly found out that I had to put myself out there if I wanted to make a future for myself. I knew that I would not want to look back on my college experience and regret keeping to myself and not participating in any clubs. I came into UNH knowing I was interested in American Sign Language and health care. Joining the American Sign Language Club and Health Science Club allowed me to expand my circle of people and staff and connect and interact with people with similar interests.

UNH student speaking in classroom

Public speaking can be intimidating at first, but it will become easier over time. I practiced public speaking in open classrooms to overcome my fear!

3. Public Speaking 

I never thought that I would be able to speak in front of groups of people, but when I stood up to say my election speech to the American Sign Language Club, I knew that being president would elevate my ideas for enrichment for the club and its impact on campus and in the local community. To become elected, I would need to find the courage to relay how I wanted to enhance the club, helping it evolve into the best club possible. Once I found out I had been elected to the position, I was nervous to go to the meetings; I knew that I would be responsible for leading and guiding the club and that was truly frightening. As time went by, I found myself easing into the position and becoming more and more comfortable talking in front of the group. I was able to get out of my comfort zone enough to speak in the elections, so I knew I could do it again, and I did (just like you can)!

UNH students in ASL Club

Being on the board of the American Sign Language Club has allowed me to make amazing friends that I can look to for support. 

4. Prioritizing and Organizing My Time

Starting college right after being in high school is a harsh change, culturally, environmentally and academically. No one can fully prepare you for what you will face in terms of challenges, as there are so many factors at play. Starting freshman year, I realized very quickly that the best thing I could do for myself was stay organized using various techniques and commit to my schoolwork. I also realized the importance of finding my people so that I had an outlet for the hard work and dedication of classes. Balancing academics and social life is difficult but extremely necessary to be able to enjoy the college experience. Becoming a leader for UNH challenged me to address prioritization of my academics and social life and taught me how to balance my schedule.

UNH student studying

I enjoy studying in the Lodges Club House on the weekends because it is close to home and a quiet space to check things off my to-do list. 

5. Writing out a Weekly Planner 

I know everyone says to write in your calendar or fill out a planner, but I could not have made it this far without a weekly planner! Being a student pursuing a career in health care, it is extremely important for me to stay organized, and a planner allows me to keep track of club meetings, classes, labs, work, exams etc. A weekly planner has helped me become a more effective and efficient leader because it helps me stay on top of tasks that need to be completed (I love to check off tasks). Find your organizational methods. Ask others what they use. Get creative – use Pinterest or Instagram to offer planner/calendar/organizational ideas!


learn more about The unh ASL club

learn more about the college of health and human services

visit UNH this summer



5 Things I Learned as an Intern for the Division of Administrative Law Appeals

Hayley '25 talks about interning for the Division of Administrative Law Appeals. While being the youngest person in a government office can be intimidating, Hayley learned the importance of asking questions, speaking up and trusting yourself as an intern.  read more about hayley