Justine Asleson

What are you planning to do next year and what do you plan to be doing five years from now?

I will be in the accelerated nursing program at the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth starting May 18th . It's a fifteen-month program, so I'm anticipating getting my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in the fall of 2016. I love snowboarding and have always wanted to move out West to be by the mountains. Ideally in five years I will be working in Colorado or Montana as a registered nurse in cardiology or in the delivery room.

Why did you choose Biology as a major and how did you go about choosing the 300-level Biology courses that you took?

I originally came in as a Natural Science major, but as I started taking various science classes, I realized I was most passionate about Biology. Biology here is such a broad major, so it makes selecting classes much more flexible and enjoyable. I started taking classes I thought sounded interesting and were relevant to healthcare (Virology, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology), and others just for the fun of it (Invertebrate Zoology, Protist Diversity).

How have your vocational/career goals evolved during your time at CSB/SJU?

I knew I wanted to work in healthcare before I came to CSB/SJU, but I wasn't quite sure what area of healthcare I wanted to pursue. As my interest in Biology became more focused, I was able to explore different careers. My advisor, Dr. Steve Saupe, really helped provide me with information about different potential areas as well as helped me choose classes that would interest and challenge me. I was really interested in Epidemiology originally, so Steve connected me with his daughter who works at the Minnesota Department of Health as an Epidemiologist. Toward the end of my time here, some of my friends who are nursing majors really helped me decide to pursue nursing.

How have your capabilities evolved during your time at CSB/SJU and what has most contributed to that evolution?

I think I've strengthened my confidence of knowing myself and what I want in life. I've become way more open minded and willing to look at things from a perspective other than my own. Being constantly challenged, both personally and intellectually, in classes has definitely fostered my inner strength as well as my ability to look at the world differently. I also think that working as a Resident Assistant developed my interpersonal skills and really made me love this community and the people that live in it. Most people who move away to college have to learn to be independent, but being an RA really reinforced my independence and nurtured my ability to make decisions. The leadership experience I gained as an RA helped me with managing conflicts and thinking of creative solutions for those problems. I also was able to get to know my supervisors on a personal level and really gained an appreciation for those who strive to help others in every aspect of their life.

What was the most rewarding experience you had at CSB/SJU (Biology-related or otherwise)?

I have had so many rewarding experiences here at CSB/SJU, but one of my highlights was being a teaching assistant for the Biology 222 lab. I worked closely with a group of students, a majority of whom were underclassmen, and really make sure they understood the material. It really amplified my love for helping people and allowed me to connect with the students every week. They always had a way of making my week better just by interacting with them for a short amount of time. I also got to work closely with my supervisor, Kristina Timmerman. Being a teaching assistant for her didn't even seem like a job. She always made lab fun and provided me with so much advice and laughter; I can never thank her enough. She helped me in applying to St. Scholastica and has always been kind and immensely supportive of me since I had her in Biology 222. She is an amazing woman and I can't imagine my senior year without her.

Do you have any advice for students who are not sure what they want to do after graduation?

Don't stress. I know it's hard not knowing your future, especially when all you get from family and friends is the infamous "what are you doing after graduation?" question. Even if all your friends allegedly have their life planned out, don't feel bad about taking a year off before deciding what to do. Sometimes you need a break after graduation to really explore what is out there before you really want to go back to a school setting. I didn't exactly know what I was doing with my life until December when I found out I was accepted into the nursing program. Definitely have some backup options if plans don't work out quite how you want them, but sometimes things just fall in your lap unexpectedly. I'm moving up to Duluth by myself in less than a week after graduation. I don't know anyone that lives up there, nor am I familiar with the area. I'm scared out of my mind just thinking about it, but completely ecstatic and ready for this next chapter in my life. Challenge yourself because those are always the most rewarding experiences. "Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to require the most from you" - Caroline Myss