Turning the ordinary, into extraordinary
Minot State University freshman Julia Barlow describes herself as painfully shy, while at the same time tenacious and strong-willed. With guidance from her parents along with university and high school faculty, she found ways to attain her goals.
"I find eyes fascinating," Barlow said. "I've always wanted to be an optometrist. I was inspired by our family optometrist. He was kind, caring and seemed to have it all."
To get started on her journey, Barlow started planning in high school.
"I wanted to get a head start on classes that I thought might be a challenge for me, so I took dual credit classes through MSU" Barlow said. "For example, public speaking. The idea of getting up in front of a classroom of people I don't know made me really anxious. Dual credit classes allowed me to face these fears."
A Minot native, Barlow's commitment to family and the community made Minot State the perfect choice for higher education.
"Staying near my family was important to me, and I wanted the full university experience without losing the familiarity of my surroundings," Barlow said. "I love Minot's sense of community and knowing everything that Minot State had to offer, I really couldn't have hoped for better."
Minot State is committed to high academic standards and professional support for students. In addition to reasonable tuition, the commitment of MSU faculty and staff is one of the most notable facets of MSU.
"They are always available and willing to provide guidance and really made it easy to transition from high school to college," Barlow said. "In particular, the First Year Experience program was a great introduction to all that Minot State has to offer."
Campus life and the university experience aren't just about hard work. It is about learning, both inside and outside the classroom. MSU is first and foremost dedicated to the success of all students. Building friendships with other students from around the world through campus activities, events and community service is a dynamic way that students can broaden their perspective of the world around them.
"All the campus activities and events bring the campus community closer together," Barlow said. "When you add MSU's use of social media, everyone feels that much more engaged."
Barlow's interests stretch beyond the sciences to include music. While many might feel overwhelmed to sing in front of an audience, it is one area that allows Barlow to step beyond her shyness and express herself.
"I consider myself to be pretty analytical, which is why I think I enjoy the sciences," Barlow said. "But music has always been a passion for me. I love singing in front of an audience. I received a music scholarship to attend MSU, and the music program really helps me balance both my analytical and creative sides."
Although new to Minot State, Barlow already has advice for other new students:
"Don't be afraid or anxious - be fearless. Do your best to make even the ordinary extraordinary. Your experience is what you make of it, and I want to make the most of mine."
Barlow is pursuing a degree in biology before moving on to optometry school. She is planning to graduate from Minot State in May 2020.