• Amanda Vanderbeek

    Amanda Vanderbeek

    Class of 2012
    Ely, MN
    Elementary education

    Amanda's Bio:
    I grew up in the Twin Cities, but now live up in Ely, MN near the BWCA, where my family has been for the last 7 years. I have three brothers, who I adore, and I enjoy fishing, playing basketball, and rough housing with them whenever I can. My mom has been a daycare provider since I was born, which served as inspiration for me to pursue a degree in Elementary education. I also love to paint, draw, and DANCE! I have been dancing for twenty years and am a dance instructor in Superior, WI....I can't imagine a life without it!

  • Yael Ikoba-Ndjip

    Brussels, Belgium
    Accounting Major; Finance minor

    Kathryn McCarrick

    Saint Paul, MN
    Elementary Education

    Laura Salazar

    Bogotá, Colombia
    Marketing and Business Management

    Halle Nystrom

    Graduate Student
    Fargo, ND
    M.S. Health Information Management

  • Jason Chavez

    Minneapolis, MN
    Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Social Work

    Jin Baek

    Aurora, CO
    Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

    Bryan Chavez

    Richfield, MN
    Accounting and Finance

    Laila Zemar

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Biochemistry, Biology and Pre-med

  • Katelyn Gehling

    East Bethel, MN
    Exercise Physiology for Pre-Physical Therapy

    Takudzwa Munjanja

    Gweru, Zimbabwe
    Health Information Management, CIS minor

    Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

    Brooke Elvehjem

    Mora, MN

  • Daniela Moreno Gomez

    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Computer Information Systems and Finance

    Neena Koslowski

    Apple Valley, MN

    Shivani Singh

    Mumbai, India
    Management & Marketing

    Shauney Moen

    Graduate Student
    Oak Grove, MN
    Doctorate of Physical Therapy

  • Conrado Eiroa Solans

    Madrid, Spain
    Psychology Major, Biology minor

You Don’t Need to Change a Thing

During this summer, I was faced with a very sad and difficult experience.  I had learned, and was informed of all of the horrible details, that one of my co-workers had committed suicide.  Not only did I feel awful for not being around him more when he was alive to be supportive of him and spend time with him, but I also really felt for his family and friends.  His mom and dad are truly some of the most wonderful people and loved their son with all of their heart.  No matter what he wanted to do, they supported his decisions and were there with him a hundred percent.  He had a beautiful daughter that he left behind, who just entered kindergarten this year, and he left the entire town missing him and reliving the memories that they had shared with him when he was alive.  I will never forget how he used to crack jokes at our entire staff when we had a crazy summer night working in the kitchen, or the amazing recipe concoctions that he had thrown together so that we could all get a little dinner in during our shifts.  He wanted to have his own restaurant someday…and he would have been amazing at it.

I bring this story up, because I feel that it is becoming more and more common in our society to feel the need to change ourselves.  Whether to fit in with those around us, to conform to the wants of society, or just because we feel less important, people in this country and around the world spend countless hours and vast amounts of money simply to change themselves into something different.  This is why my co-worker committed suicide.  He didn’t feel like he fit in…he felt uncared for.  And, in all reality, there is no bigger lie that we internalize than these types of feelings.  The Lord put us on this earth to be unique, to be different from those around us, and to bask in the wonderful gifts and talents that He has given each of us.  We should never feel like we need to change to look like our neighbors or to follow along with the same behaviors and lifestyles as they do, because it simply doesn’t reflect who we are.  Needing to buy material possessions to make ourselves feel liked, compromising our values to fit in, taking on an occupation or career that everyone says that we need to do even when it’s not our calling…these are all things that we change.  However, think about what YOU want out of life.  Do you do these things and make changes to your life because that is who you are…?  Or, do you make these changes about yourself because you feel the pressure of your society to do so?

Stand up for yourself and go confidently in the direction that you feel your life has in store for you.  Don’t be afraid to stand out and be who you are.  It’s just as Bruno Mars so brilliantly sings: “when I see your face…there’s not a thing that I would change.  Cause you’re amazing….just the way you are.”

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