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.
When I left home in August, I wasn’t quite sure what the University of Mary would have in store for me but I did know I was heading to a place that I was going to love to be at for the next four to five years. I had plenty of mixed emotions as I couldn’t wait to be on my own, but also had a few nerves for not being close to home for the first time. The first four months at UMary have really given me the opportunity to make many new friends and also brought challenges that arise while living on your own.
I am majoring in business administration with a minor in accounting. The one thing that stressed me out the most about going to college was the classes I would be taking. I had heard from many people that the biggest difference between college and high school is how tough classes can be. After the first couple weeks I really settled in and classes weren’t too stressful, but the amount of studying and homework is definitely a lot. My favorite class this fall was accounting as it is something I am looking to go into in the future. This was my first accounting class so it was good to learn about the basics of accounting. My teachers in Fergus Falls did a great job preparing me for college as well as giving plenty of advice and tips on how much studying is needed to succeed in college.
At UMary, I’m on the men’s basketball team which takes up plenty of my time when I am not in class or studying. I really have loved basketball so far this year as the guys are great to be around and we all love playing together. This fall, during preseason, we spent our time doing speed and agility workouts, skill development workouts, lifting and team workouts. We are currently in the middle of our season which keeps us busy with four practices a week. I’m redshirting this year, along with two other teammates, which means our schedule is a little bit different than the rest of the team; we lift three times a week compared to the rest of the team that has two lifts and we also have two extra skill workouts. As a redshirt, we travel with the team for our away games which is great experience to prepare us for next year. One of my favorite experiences from basketball this year was the Thanksgiving dinner six of us made because we weren’t able to go home due to having practice and a game that Saturday. We made the meal in the dorm and had turkey, cheesy potatoes, mac and cheese, collard greens, and buns. The team has really welcomed me in with open arms and given me a family to spend time with at UMary.
Over the last couple of months, I have realized how grateful I am to have grown up in the community of Fergus Falls. All the great teachers, coaches, family, friends, and community support guide us to become hardworking and kind leaders, not only in the classroom but in everyday life. I would also like to thank the Fergus Falls Dollars for Scholars and Bank of the West for their generous financial support that supports my education at UMary.
Matthew Johnson is a 2019 graduate of Fergus Falls High School and is currently attending the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He is the recipient of the Bank of the West Scholarship. For information on making a donation for scholarships, contact Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars, 601 W Randolph Ave, Fergus Falls, MN 56537.