As a high school senior, I applied to seven different universities. MSU, Mankato was at the bottom of that list. But, boy, am I glad I made the decision to come here! Ever since I started as a freshman back in August of 2014, MSU has handed me opportunities left and right.
MSU gave me the opportunity to graduate in three years with three majors: geography, Spanish, and international relations. I didn’t come into college with an idea of what I wanted to pursue after graduation, but I did have a strong sense of what I’m interested in. My philosophy has always been to pursue what interests me and to see where that takes me. I am very glad that I have stayed true to that ideal.
MSU gave me the opportunity to experience the entire world right here on campus through our vibrant international community. This was not a factor I considered when applying to schools, but it has turned out to be one of the most valuable parts of my college experience. From playing cricket in Schellberg Gym on Friday nights to learning Portuguese with Brazilian friends over meals at Carkoski to attending the many international events in the CSU ballroom, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our beautiful cultural diversity here at MSU. Because of these three years, I now have connections with friends all across the globe.
MSU gave me the incredible opportunity to go abroad to Cuenca, Ecuador, where I experienced what it’s like to live outside of Minnesota for the first time. For three months, I studied, traveling around the country, and used Spanish every day.
MSU gave me the opportunity to become involved on campus through journalism. I got to write articles for the newspaper and have my voice on the radio, and – get this – they even paid me to do it! I am so grateful for those experiences. Deadlines and late nights were often stressful, but it was worth it. It allowed me to hone my journalistic and writing skills, to meet interesting people, and to be an insider to interesting stories happening on campus. My Radio a la Carte show on KMSU was a fantastic outlet for my creativity and interests. I have especially enjoyed covering student senate this semester; it has reinvigorated my love of journalism.
Through the Saint Thomas More Catholic Newman Center, I was given the opportunity to grow closer to God in my Catholic faith. It has been a true home for me during my time here. It has been the heart of my college experience. I owe all the wonderful opportunities, experiences, and friendships of these three years to the grace of God. I am especially grateful to Mary the mother of God for her intercession in my life.
I will miss this place and the many opportunities it has given me. In three short years, I’ve had many adventures here. I’ve learned that adventure doesn’t always come from where you expect. This great college adventure has come to a close, but there are more adventures still to come. This summer, I look forward to working as a history interpreter in Medora, North Dakota, just outside of Teddy Roosevelt National Park. I have applied to Saint Paul Seminary for the upcoming fall semester.
Adventures are always in our midst – it’s just a matter of looking for them and choosing to live them.
It’s easy to become paralyzed by limitless opportunities. We grow up in a culture where we’re told we can do anything. We’re afraid to commit because once we choose something, then anything isn’t an option anymore.
Don’t be afraid to choose – look at what’s in front of you, take a step, and see where it leads you. Seek always what is good, true, and beautiful. That’s where you’ll find adventure. That’s how you’ll find who you are meant to be. Sometimes adventure comes in giant heroic leaps, but often it’s found in many small, simple steps.
To all those moving on to new adventures and to all those continuing on at MSU: don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t settle for comfort. Don’t settle for selfishness. Settle for nothing less than adventure.