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Cover photo: Classmates Kelli Sem and Breanne Hatfield
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Sem finds university experience is more than good grades

Being independent after high school filled Kelli Sem with both excitement and trepidation. However, Sem found Minot State University to be the perfect fit for continuing her education and living self-reliantly. As a disabled student with special needs, finding a school with a fully accessible campus with the right accommodations is vital to her success.

"I was able to speak with several of my professors before I started classes and they went above and beyond finding me the right classroom accommodations," Sem said. "For example, because of my physical limitations, I was able to work with a lab assistant in my chemistry class which allowed me to more fully and successfully participate in the class. Also, MSU had the nicest handicap-accessible dorm suite of the schools I toured."

Despite obvious hurdles for students with disabilities, Sem explained her biggest challenge is setting balanced priorities.

"I've always believed in doing well in school and have always been pretty studious. However, I want the full college experience and that means more than just making the grade. I have found it is just as important to participate in school events, and take the time to get to know new people."

For Sem, the greatest surprise at MSU are the opportunities that have opened up for her. She recently accepted a position working with Enrollment Services, assisting in answering email inquiries and updating various social media. She will also soon be working one-on-one with a professor on research analysis.

"At a larger school, I wouldn't have these same opportunities. At MSU, I am empowered and encouraged to explore the things that interest and are important to me," she said. "If I could give one piece of advice to a new student it would be to recognize that every student has unique challenges. Be open to and receptive to new ideas and creative solutions and you'll be able to succeed.

I just finished my freshman year. When I think back to how nervous I was about everything before I started, and I see how far I've come already, I know I made the right choice."