Forrest Walker Conner is a rising junior at the University of the South, Sewanee. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Forrest is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, graduated in 2019 from Montgomery Bell Academy and entered Sewanee the fall of that same year.
The summer after Forrest’s 8th grade year at MBA, he participated in a study of the Baltic countries during WWII, specifically Lithuania. This study led to his life changing visit to Lithuania where he learned first-hand that freedom isn’t free and came to appreciate the determination and sacrifice these small countries have historically exhibited to win and protect their independence and keep their rightful place on the world map.
Following this experience, Forrest participated in every exchange program offered. He and his family hosted several Lithuanian and German students here in the US and Forrest studied in Australia the summer after his junior year in high school. Forrest credits his travel and exchange experiences for his many friends and relationships in so many places around the world.
It was these types of meaningful relationships that led Forrest to Sewanee. The more he learned and witnessed of the incredibly close relationships formed on that mountaintop – the “Domain” – between peers, faculty, and staff, the more drawn he was. No big city, no busy backdrop…but rural 13,000 acres of natural eastern Tennessee beauty where people and nature come together, and lifelong relationships are born.
While Forrest can find his way in city in the world, he will for now enjoy the solace of Sewanee while he prepares to launch into a bustling future.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
While I’m not in the business world yet, I am majoring in economics with a minor in business at Sewanee. I am currently participating in the Fund for American Studies public policy and economics program in Washington, D.C. Business and public policy go hand in hand and I’m learning a lot about how government policies affect business environments.
How do you make money?
As a student, I am on a tight budget. My family allows me monthly support and I’m currently working as a paid intern on Capitol Hill.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
My most difficult decision in the past months has probably been selecting my major. I know it doesn’t sound like that crucial of a choice, however understanding that it will affect my life further down the road definitely adds more pressure to the decision.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My enjoyment of new people, places and experiences leads me to so many open doors and opportunities. I form solid relationships with those around me who I value, and I listen to those mentors that have and continue to come my way in all aspects of my life – school, work, church, family, and friends. I know I have a lot to learn and I’m eager to do that!
What would you say to your younger self?
I always find that question particularly interesting. When I think about this, I like to think about what kind of mentor or “big brother” I would be to myself. Mostly I would advise younger Forrest to be brave. Middle school is the worst and high school is wrought with challenges. It’s a minefield that can make retreat seem the best option. I would tell younger Forrest to try difficult and scary things because then they become less difficult and scary. In turn, younger Forrest, you will be more equipped to face the next perceived difficult and scary situation with more confidence. Then before you know it, there isn’t much that will intimidate you anymore. Then I would take him out for a cheeseburger and make sure he knew I thought he was awesome.