The Journey to Finding Where I Belong

Graduating from high school, I was convinced that I had found my dream school at the University of Montana. I know you’re thinking, why am I talking about University of Montana when I go to school at Winona State University? Well, this story is about finding my home at WSU and finishing my college journey where I was meant to.

When it came time to apply to colleges at the beginning of my senior year, I was determined to go to the University of Montana. It had everything I wanted from a media arts program to a dance team and it was a way for me to gain independence away from my friends and family. Leaving home was a scary thought but once I had visited the school I knew in my heart that was where I was supposed to be, or so I thought. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy, or that I had a hard time making friends, because that had never been much of a problem for me. It was that I realized that no matter how hard I tried my family was something that was always going to be number one in my heart and I felt I needed to be closer to them.

After my first semester and a very long Christmas break spent at home I applied to Winona State University. Thankfully, after already being accepted once they had accepted me again. I thought I was going to start at Winona State for second semester, but I had decided to stay in Montana since my parents had done so much to help me move out there. After some thinking and wanting to save money I moved back in with my parents and headed to the University of Minnesota. Once I had spent some time at home though I realized just how hard it had become for my parents and I to live together and I decided to go to WSU at the last minute. I packed up my things and headed down to Winona, picked out my classes and got settled into the dorm that I had been assigned. The transition back to Minnesota was made easier because I had gone to a school where I had friends and it made me feel a lot more at ease with being in a new place. I thought being with my friends was going to make everything better but unfortunately, I had found out the hard way that the people who I thought were my friends were people that I had drifted apart from.

I had gone to Winona having best friends, and in a blink of an eye I wasn’t sure what to do anymore. I had met a girl in one of my graphic design classes and she and I got really close, and soon I had started spending all of my time with her and meeting her friends. I had a new outlook on life because she was someone who was always happy and was willing to go out of her way to help me out with whatever, and I did the same for her. One of the days we were hanging out she was going to a rush event for a local sorority Phi Theta Chi. I didn’t know if I wanted to go because I hadn’t had the greatest luck with Greek Life at that point, but I thought why not because I wasn’t doing anything else that night. That day changed the rest of my college career. I had found people who accepted me for my weird, crazy and happy personality and wanted to be friends with who I was. I had honestly not expected to join a sorority again and was so thankful that I had gone to the event that day. After that, everything started to fall into place, I had finally found the major I wanted (Advertising) and was branching out even more and found other groups I could join that helped me find my passions in life. HerCampus and AdFed were two groups that I was able to put some of my time into, I had even found the Student Advertising Summit through AdFed. I was constantly surrounding myself with people who had personalities like mine and people who had a craving to do more than just go to school.


Here I am four years later and I can’t wait to graduate on December 8th. I can’t believe time has gone so quickly. As I reflect back on the time that I’ve spent at Winona State University, I can say that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any differently. I have found life-long friendships and had opportunities given to me that I don’t think I would have had if I had stayed in Montana. As much as a treasure the time that I spent there, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t followed my heart.

No matter what got in my way or how many different schools I went to, I became the person that I wanted to be, a strong, independent woman who is capable of anything she sets her mind to. Everyone has something that gives them hope for the future and drives them to find their future career. Everyone I know who is about to graduate took steps to find their home at Winona State University whether they were there for three years, or five. It doesn’t matter how or why we got here, all that matters is that we are about to graduate and everyone should be proud of that, I know I am. As quoted by Elle Woods “WE DID IT!” Congrats to the class of 2017 and to everyone on their future journeys! We’ve all earned it!