By Kali Jensen
It was the summer before my senior year in high school when I began my college visits.
I scheduled several visits throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. My vision was set on a huge university in a large city. However, keeping my options open, I had a few smaller colleges and universities scheduled to tour as well.
After each college/university visit, I listed my pros and cons until I visited the University of Jamestown. I walked into Taber Hall, the admission office at the time, and knew right at that moment that the University of Jamestown was the university for me.
I walked in the entrance and saw my name. The smell in the air reminded me of my home church. At that moment of entering Taber Hall, I was overcome by the warm sense of having the feeling of home. I knew this was is where I wanted to receive my education before I even had a tour of the campus.
Moving four and a half hours away from home, I had a lot of emotions heading into the next chapter of my life. I knew this campus would let me continue my passion of elementary education, singing and my love for God.
The language of music
Prior to my Freshmen year at the University of Jamestown, I auditioned for the University of Jamestown’s Concert Choir. My audition landed me as a Soprano Two. I did not know at the time how blessed I was to be part of an amazing, talented group of individuals I would call family. Being a part of this Concert Choir family is an experience of a lifetime. I was blessed to travel to several surrounding towns, several states including the west coast and northeastern area, and internationally spreading our love of music.
Through the language of music, I have learned a lot about my choir family and myself. Each one of us has a unique life path; one of the paths includes music. When each of our individual paths meet, it is as if nothing else exists and we become one.
Music is not my only passion.
Another passion I have is my love of God. I was able to serve on the Worship Design Team for Chapel. As a disciple, I found joy in serving on this team and growing spiritually. This campus team has truly lived up to John 10:27.
“Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
It’s not always easy
My four-year journey on the University of Jamestown campus has been full of fun and excitement, but I would be lying to you if I said it was easy. Moving 300 miles away from home is not easy. Being 300 miles away from all family members is not easy. Moving 300 miles away from home, not knowing anyone, is not easy. All the unknowns are scary and hard. I have made many friends and have surrounded myself with people who encourage me to move onward and upward.
Quotes to live by
My moms push me to do better and be better. Each year, my moms give me a little quote for me to live by. They would send me these quotes in various ways. When in doubt, I recite the encouraging quote of the year. These few words would get me through the week and most often through each day.
Freshmen Year: You Got This!
Freshmen year is full of new things and uncertainty. I was by myself. I did not know anyone. I did not know where anything was on campus. I was new to town. I did not know anything about living on my own. I did not get the whole “college” thing.
I kept telling myself “You got this!” I made friends quickly. I found my way around campus. I asked many questions. I drove around town and found a great spot to watch the sunset at the reservoir. My professors helped me navigate college courses and pushed me to keep going.
Sophomore Year: Eyes on the Prize!
Sophomore year has many distractions. I have many friends. I was in the choir. I was on the Worship Design Team for Chapel. I sought out other campus teams and committees as well. There are many fun things to do on campus. Your time doing fun stuff can quickly consume your time away from studies.
I had to tell myself “Eyes on the prize!” I am at the University of Jamestown to earn a degree in Elementary Education. I needed to figure out how to balance fun, friends and education. With the focus of “Eyes on the prize”, I was able to balance education first and the rest fell into place.
Junior Year: Be the change!
Junior year was the year for change. Returning to college after summer break, I was not the same person. I needed to create and move towards my own path. I needed to be the leader of that path I was paving.
I grew that summer with a positive confidence and strength within myself that separated me from some of my peers. I had to remind myself to “Be the change!” and that it is okay. I began to like who I was starting to become. I had the confidence and ability to help others become the best version of themselves just as I did.
Senior Year: I can!
Senior year, then what? I have a new set of unknowns after graduation.
“I can!” I can move away from Jamestown. I can stay living in Jamestown. I can move back home to Minnesota. I can move where I find a job. I can further my education. No matter what I put my mind to, I can! If I can dream it, I can do it!
I have created many memories within my four years at the University of Jamestown. I have an amazing choir family. I am surrounded with individuals who love God, just as much as I do. I am blessed with Professors I can call friends. I have met several amazing people along the way.
Do not take your college career for granted. This educational experience is something I will never forget. I am excited and nervous for my next chapter in life.
My advice to everyone in any situation is to repeat after me:
You Got This!
Eyes on the Prize!
Be the Change!