This is one in a series of articles written by students who received scholarships in 2020 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.
The idea of college was something that scared me for most of my life. I thought of it as something super big and important that would decide what I would do for the rest of my life. So you can imagine how nervous I was about picking a college that was right for me. But luckily the first day I stepped foot on campus at Concordia College, I knew it was the place I was supposed to be. Concordia’s commitment to community and efforts to help their students in every way possible drew me to this college. This outlook was especially helpful during this freshman year filled with struggles.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way I thought I would experience college. I’ve spent many days in my dorm on my laptop, for upwards of 10 hours, zooming in to class and completing homework. As a biology major with a chemistry minor, I am lucky to be able to have some of my lab classes in person, but many are not so lucky. I’ve seen and heard of many students dropping out of college or taking gap years because of the pandemic and I sympathize with them. Having been taught one way for your whole life and having the format change completely is very hard. I am lucky for the solid foundation in education I have been given from my teachers at Kennedy Secondary School as well as the opportunity to take college credits in high school.
Even though my freshman year of college has been in a pandemic, it has not all been bad. Getting to finally focus on an education that I enjoy has been amazing. I have always been a curious person, so learning about cellular biology, chemistry, and evolution has been a blast. I’ve gotten to use and experiment with compound light microscopes, micropipettes, and a high performance liquid chromatography machine, all of which made my inner science nerd very excited. I’ve also been able to be involved with Concordia’s music ensembles, playing bass clarinet in echo concert band as well as the college’s clarinet choir. Being a part of the music community has been amazing as the educators and students are all so invested in their craft. I almost never have a rehearsal where I don’t laugh and have fun.
These opportunities would not have been possible for me without the generous people who decided to help fund my education. Private college tuition is no joke, but luckily, people like the Fergus Falls Dollars for Scholars committee and donors decided to invest in me. With their help, I was able to attend Concordia College and continue my education. I would also love to thank the Fergus Falls community for being so supportive of their students as well as the teachers in the Fergus Falls School District who have devoted so much time and effort, especially now, to help me and other students succeed in their education.
Throughout this first year of college, I have learned many things, but two really stuck out to me. One: to do what I love to do and never let someone pressure me to do something else because “you can’t get a job doing that.” And two: to value my friends and family because you never know when they’ll be gone.
Brinn Donais is a 2020 graduate of Kennedy Secondary School and is currently attending Concordia College in Moorhead. She is the recipient of the Learn, Share, Repeat Scholarship as well as the Art Scholarship. For information on making a donation for scholarships, contact Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars, 601 W Randolph Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537.