This is one in a series of articles written by students who received scholarships in 2019 awarded through the Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars chapter. The purpose of these articles is to thank the community for its support of students and their higher education goals.
I am very grateful to say that my first semester at Luther College went better than I could have expected! In high school I was very involved in several areas and I am happy to say that I have continued this at Luther. I got to campus a week earlier than most of the other first year students for the preseason of cross country and this allowed me to become comfortable with my new home without all the hustle and bustle of orientation week. This was good for me as it reduced my anxieties about moving six hours away from home and was just less stressful than the typical move-in situation. This is one of the advantages to doing cross country at Luther, but it is just the beginning of a long list.
To begin with, I came into the school year with a 50-person family already intact. In addition to finding running friends through my new team, I also found a few fellow cross-country skiers with whom I have discussed creating a ski club and training with in-between our running seasons. I really loved feeling like I was taking some of Walt Spidahl’s ideas and his love of skiing with me to college thanks to the Eisingers. I felt like I was doing the gift justice by continuing to engage and grow my love of cross country skiing even while I was running competitively.
In addition to being in cross country (and later coerced into indoor and outdoor distance track), I have kept up with my passion for music. I am on a scholarship from the school to play in the band and receive lessons on alto saxophone and thank my previous band directors and the community for their support of me and arts in Fergus Falls. I would not be where I am today without that.
While most people might stop at a sport and one music commitment, I pushed a bit further and auditioned for the first-year choir. I got in and have been so grateful for the incredible experience it has brought me. I got to participate in Christmas at Luther through this and it has given me several other wonderful opportunities. Music at Luther has been eye-opening.
I am, however, not just here for extracurriculars. In my academics I am looking at majoring in history and Nordic studies, and getting a minor in secondary education. I am currently doing my “January Term” for Luther and 48 hours through an 80-plus hour practicum in a middle school classroom for my education degree. Also, I know Nordic studies is not a very common major. I am motivated to pursue it thanks to my father, an alumnus of Luther himself (who also majored in Nordic studies), and my love of skiing and traveling which I hope will culminate in a semester abroad in Norway in one of the next two years.
Of course this is all a lot to juggle, but thanks to several experiences in high school and before, I have strategies to manage it successfully. Being in a community that allowed me to do all the things that I did in high school (three varsity sports, three auditioned music ensembles, honors/AP/college classes), has helped me make this transition. Overall the first semester treated me very well and I am proud to say that through the crazy busyness of the first part of college, I maintained my sense of self and even made the dean’s list. Now I have something to strive for next semester as I take on the second half of my first year. I am so grateful to Dollars for Scholars and the whole community of Fergus Falls for helping me get to Luther and thrive while I am there.
Berit Skogen is a 2019 graduate of Fergus Falls High School and is currently attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is the recipient of a Dollars for Scholars Scholarship and the Walt “Speedy” Spidahl Scholarship. For information on making a donation for scholarships, contact Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars, 601 W. Randolph Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537.