Dec. 9, 2021

Winter commencement: ‘Follow your heart’


Photo of Daria Turgeon

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.   


MAJOR: Civil engineering

HOMETOWN: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Dear freshman Daria,

It is time to say goodbye to the only home you have ever known in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to embark on your new journey at North Dakota State University.

As you say goodbye, there will be excitement along with fear of the unknown and of what the next few years will bring. If only you knew what the next four and half years would entail, you would zip up that last suitcase with a little more confidence.

The car drive from Sioux Falls to Fargo would not have seemed so daunting on move-in day and the couple of hours after mom and dad pulled out of the Memorial Union parking lot would not have seemed so anxious.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be a lot of challenges along the way. But don’t let them drag you down. You will question what you want to get out of your career and what your future is going to look like. This questioning is a good thing. It will allow your curiosity to overcome your fear and switch your major to civil engineering.

You will again question your decision multiple times when classes get tough, a project goes wrong or an exam turns out unsuccessful. Through thick and thin, though, you will work hard and see your learning come to life during internships. In the end, you will know you made the right choice about civil engineering. Not because you knew everything right away, but because you worked hard to understand and allowed yourself to believe you could do it.

North Dakota State University is going to slowly turn into your home away from home. The saying goes, “the days may seem long, but the years fly by.” So, soak up all the knowledge you can in the classroom but also remember to enjoy coffee with your friends, cheer as loud as you can at Bison games, never pass up a Target trip with the girls, get competitive at game night, try new things, slow down so you are able to take it all in and take life as it comes.

It won’t all happen overnight, but eventually you are going to meet lifelong friends and make memories that will stick with you forever. A lot is going to happen over the next few years and a lot of change will occur within you. That is what you’re here for – to live, learn and grow as a person. Take the risk and follow your heart because if I know anything, it is that you can always accomplish what you set your mind to.


Your Future Self

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