Spring of 2020 was a difficult time not just for me but also for the nation. COVID-19 had begun to shut down the U.S., meaning not being able to go see friends and family, eat out, go to sporting events, and also moving to online learning. I was a senior in high school and I was crushed. I wouldn’t get my senior season of softball. I wouldn’t get a prom that I was helping to plan. And, I would not get the graduation I had dreamed of since starting high school.
On May 30, the day before graduation, I received news that would change my life. My house caught fire at 2 a.m. Three fire departments arrived to help. It started with a bathroom fan and spread throughout the roof. The roof began to collapse and the house was a loss. Everyone was safe including pets. My family and I were able to salvage some important things like my camera and softball equipment.
The rest of the day was hectic as we were trying to figure out where we were going to live and how we were going to get clothes, food, and other necessities. I was graduating high school the next day and had no cap and gown. I reached out to friends and the school and they were able to help. I received donations to find clothes for graduation, along with the rest of my family. I am forever grateful for the generosity of my hometown community in helping my family and me overcome this tragedy.
Calling Concordia Home
I am also grateful for Concordia’s help. The day after graduation, my admission representative reached out to me about next steps. She was with my parents and me through the whole process and even checked in on us. I would be on the Cobber softball team and my future teammates, who had never met me, donated and reached out to make sure my family and I were OK. My coach even drove all the way to Roseau to drop off the donations from the team. I knew before that Concordia would be the place for me, but this further proved it.
My family was able to have temporary accommodations. I had limited clothes and belongings. I had to go on a shopping spree for everything I needed for college. On move-in day, I stepped on campus and I knew this would be my new home for the next four years.
My freshman year was a slow start but, in my sophomore year, I joined The Concordian, the campus newspaper, to help with my journalism skills. I made friends and connections from interning for Concordia’s Communications and Marketing office. I was exploring Fargo-Moorhead and what the community had to offer. I felt like a real college student, but I still felt lost. It was difficult for me to go home to no room, belongings, or even a bed. Concordia made me feel safe and like I had a sense of belonging.
In the summer of 2022, I started looking at more academic options. I had started out at Concordia majoring in communication studies and multimedia journalism with a minor in film studies, but I knew I had room to add more and wanted to push myself. I evaluated what I wanted to do in the future and how events in my life have impacted me. I decided to minor in social activism. I want to use my journalism to help others and bring awareness to people’s needs. I felt so touched by the help I received from my hometown and Concordia, and I want to bring that same feeling to others. Adding the social activism minor would help bring that into my journalistic writing.
My favorite course that I have taken at Concordia is Documentary - Historical Film with Dr. Greg Carlson. Not only did we watch and learn about documentaries, but we also made one. Documentary is a form of filmmaking that also partners with journalism. As a class, we picked a story, conducted interviews, filmed, and edited together. Everyone got to be hands-on and learn what it takes to make a documentary.
My internship in the Communications and Marketing office (we call it MarCom) has taught me so much about what I can do with my degrees after graduation. I help with anything that is needed of me whether it is making a TikTok or taking photos for an event. I even get to write stories like this one for other people. Leaving this office that I have had the joy of interning for since May 2022 is going to be the hardest thing for me when graduation rolls around.
Concordia is a great place to explore yourself in a personal and academic sense. It is also a great place to start new. A common answer to the question, “Why did you choose Concordia?” is, “It felt like home.” For me, Concordia really does feel like home. After losing a place I called home for 17 years of my life, I needed somewhere new and Concordia was there for me. I will graduate, possibly move away, and build a life in a new place, but I know Concordia will always be there for me and a place to call home.
Published September 2023