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Winter commencement: ‘You are resilient’

Photo of Lauren Sampson

Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. NDSU students spend years learning, studying, connecting with classmates and working toward their degree, which creates and full, rich and unique experience.

We asked some of our students to write a letter to their freshman selves to reflect on their NDSU experience. Each illustrates the personal growth, sense of accomplishment and pride many of our students feel as they meet the goal of earning an NDSU degree.

NDSU’s winter commencement ceremony is scheduled for Friday, December 17 at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

2 p.m. - College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Engineering; College of Human Sciences and Education; and College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

5 p.m. - College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources; College of Business; College of Health Professions; and College of Science and Mathematics.   


MAJORS: Music, mathematics

HOMETOWN: Edmore, North Dakota

Dear Lauren,

You made it. At the beginning it’ll feel like this day keeps moving further away, but now it seems like I’m sprinting to the end.

You will have some of the best experiences of your life at NDSU. You’ll finally get to Europe, not once, but twice, because of your love for band. Ireland is as gorgeous as the photos and you’ll find a new dream place to live in a little village outside of Prague. You’ll get to run through the streets of Vienna while it rains and you’ll get to perform in one of the most gorgeous and prestigious halls as part of the first American group to perform in the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle. You won’t want to come back and it will just fuel your wanderlust even more.

In the United States, you’ll get to perform on the fields of US Bank Stadium and Target Field. You even get to stand right in front of the Twins dugout. You’ll get to march in the Minnesota State Fair and travel to Frisco, Texas, for three national championships. All of this happens because you joined the marching band.

And you will meet one of your best friends on your very first day of band camp. You’ll even get to attend her wedding.

You will eventually figure out where your passions lie and what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to take your time on this. The journey is the most important part to self-discovery. Always listen to your heart. You’ll realize over and over that you are the only one who can make the life-changing decisions. And that’s how it should be. The person those decisions affect the most is you. That said, make sure you are trying to eat healthy and get enough sleep. You won’t achieve greatness on an empty stomach.

One more thing: please take care of your mental health. There will be times where it seems like you’ve hit rock bottom and the only option is to grab a pickaxe and keep digging. I want you to know that is untrue. Don’t fight going to counseling so much. It’s okay to admit that you need help from others. They’ll offer you a rope to climb out of the hole and that’s why NDSU has a counseling center. You are not the only one who feels like this and you’ll find comfort in finding people who understand what you’re going through. Mental illnesses do not and should not control your life. They won’t go away, but you can learn how to manage and coexist with them.

You are resilient and I am so proud of how far you’ve come. I can’t wait to see how much further you can go.



Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
Mailing address: Dept 6000 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU University Relations

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2022 3:39:44 PM
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