A four-year starter on the Concordia women’s hockey team and a member of the Cobber track team, Chelsey Petrich '17, Elk River, Minn., lives a life busier than most college students. The pre-med biology major has found time to focus on her studies while also being involved in many on-campus and off-campus activities. We had a chance to interview Petrich to see what her Concordia experience has been like.
Why did you choose Concordia?
I chose Concordia because every time I stepped on campus, it felt like home. The first time I was on campus was for my sister Cassey's first campus visit. After the tour was over, she looked at me and said she could see us going to this school together. It always had this sense of coming home, instead of being away from home.
I knew I was going to be pre-med and I had heard wonderful things about the rigorous science track here. The cadaver laboratory was particularly intriguing to me. I was also excited about the opportunity to play hockey. I wasn’t ready give up on hockey quite yet and I am so unbelievably happy that I didn’t. Another reason that factored into my decision was that my sister was at Concordia. Cassey and I were practically inseparable our entire life, so the idea of being at the same school as her for another three years and having the potential opportunity to play hockey with her again was practically impossible to pass up. These reasons plus the generous scholarship I received were why I chose Concordia. I am so incredibly proud to have the privilege to call this institution my home.
Which on-campus and off-campus programs and organizations are you a part of?
Since I am an athlete, I have the privilege to be a part of our school’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee and have been for the past three years. We have a close relationship with Special Olympics North Dakota and Cobber Kids. Through SAAC, I was asked to be a part of a Mental Health action team at Concordia as an athletic representative. This team is working to make mental health more of a focus and core value at Concordia by providing better resources and options for assistance to our students.
I am also on the executive team for Colleges Against Cancer, which is the organization that hosts the annual Relay for Life event on campus. Additionally, I was an Orientation Leader this past fall, where I had the opportunity to get to know the greatest club ever (Club 25!). Orientation has definitely been one of my favorite experiences here. I also have a couple of on-campus jobs.
How have you been able to balance extracurricular activities with sports and homework?
It took a lot of learning from my mistakes to find balance in college. I did not have the perfect studying and time management skills coming in to college. However, I learned quickly that if I wanted to be successful and achieve my goals, I had to be very self-disciplined. It wasn’t always easy, but there were many times where I had to study while all my friends were watching Netflix or hanging out. My planner keeps me on track as well. School is and always has been my number one priority. I know that is what will give me the best possible future. Therefore, I have learned to make the most of my free time. I haven’t been perfect, but I always do my best and learn from my mistakes.
Your sister is a recent graduate and former Cobber hockey player. What was it like going to school with a sibling and what was it like being on the ice with your older sister?Going to school and skating with Cassey was one of the best parts of being at Concordia. From the start, I had a constant support system that made my transition to college very easy. She allowed me to find my own place here. She would offer her advice when I asked but never impeded on my path.
Cassey allowed me to develop into an independent individual. However, we knew that we always had a friend to go to whenever either of us needed something. It was such a unique opportunity to get to play hockey again with her. We had a lot of chemistry when playing. We always knew where the other was going without a whole lot of verbal communication. We also always knew that we were partners if we had to pair up in practice or at lifting without discussing it. She is still supporting me by coming to my games and telling me her thoughts afterward. I love seeing her after my games. Having Cassey at Concordia with me was such a blessing. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. She is and always has been my role model and best friend.
I understand you plan on attending med school after you graduate this spring. Have you found a school to attend or do you have any specific schools in mind?
I was recently accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth, which was my first choice. As a physician, I would like to practice within primary care or a subspecialty. I have high interest in family practice, dermatology or orthopedic surgery. However, I plan to go into medical school with an open mind so I can fully experience every specialty.
Looking back as a senior, do you have any advice for new first-year students or prospective Cobbers?
Concordia is one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life. I have been pushed to become a better person here every day. This institution really does better prepare you for your future, whatever that path may be.
Concordia also fosters any sort of passion you may have. Pursue those passions, even if they are different than your friends’. Join a club or activity that interests you. And if you start it and find out that you don’t enjoy it as much as you thought you would, don’t be afraid to find something new to try. There are many activities that I tried as a freshman that I no longer participate in. No one is going to be mad at you for no longer being in their club or activity. However, I urge you to be involved in something because there are incredible opportunities here. I have met so many awesome and genuine individuals throughout my time here and I would not have met them if I didn’t try these different activities.
Also, I implore you to get to know the staff and faculty at Concordia. They are some of the most genuine, empathetic and interesting people on campus. They are here for you. They want more than anything for you to succeed, so get to know them.
My biggest piece of advice is to try anything that you have interest in because it will bring personal growth whether you love every second of it or find you don’t like it. My activities outside of academics are where I have developed skills that make me a well-rounded and capable individual. I am so grateful for everything Concordia has done for me. Allow Concordia to do all of that for you, too.
Cole Christensen '18 is a business marketing major and member of the Cobber baseball team.