This is one in a series of articles written by students who received scholarships in 2022 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.
Now that my second semester at Morehead State University is in full swing, I have properly readjusted to college life after Christmas break, which is often described as the most difficult time of the whole college experience. It was quite an adjustment, because I have lived in Fergus Falls my whole life, but I overcame the initial strong wave of homesickness after finding myself 1000 miles away again in the hills of eastern Kentucky. This week people back home in Minnesota had a snow day while I was walking around campus in a t-shirt looking at flowers.
I am majoring in nursing and will be officially starting the three-year cohort nursing program next fall. Since I took many PSEO classes in high school that met my pre-nursing requirements, I have had the freedom to pursue some of my other interests this first year, such as art and animal science. My classes have included livestock anatomy, a livestock lab at the campus farm, and honors classes on the history, art, literature, and politics of both the ancient and Renaissance worlds.
I am also part of the Honors College. This is a group of only 20 students per year who live together, do activities together, and complete a series of requirements including classes, research fellowships and study abroad experiences. The Honors College made it much easier to make friends and feel welcomed in a place where most other students are Kentucky natives who go home every weekend. In those early days, my Honors College classmates joined me in going swimming and hiking in the local national forests. Another thing that helped in my adjustment was I was assigned an older Honors-student mentor to help me navigate the program. As part of my Honors College requirements, I am currently doing a self-education project which involves painting historical, cultural, and natural Kentucky locations to familiarize myself with the area. This summer I will be taking a three-week plein-air oil painting class in Florence, Italy.
Being so far away from home has also given me the chance to connect with relatives who live in Kentucky, including some I’d never met before. Making these new family connections has helped me fight homesickness, so I would like to thank them for that. I’m grateful to the head of the Morehead State Honors program, who became one of my favorite professors, for offering me advice and help and allowing me to experience this unique Honors program opportunity.
Thank you to all my professors at Minnesota State Community and Technical College for preparing me well to continue in college. I would also like to thank my parents, grandparents, friends (old and new), high school teachers, and the Fergus Falls Dollars for Scholars donors – the Rostad and Hansen families – for helping me get to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Erika Lahti is a 2022 graduate of Kennedy Secondary School and is currently attending Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. She is the recipient of the Constance Rostad and Robert & Mildred Hansen Scholarships. For information on making a donation for scholarships, contact Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars, 601 W Randolph Ave, Fergus Falls, MN 56537.