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MSU Profiles

Life experience leads back to pursuing a dream

Challenges in life often transform our priorities and perspectives, as well as create opportunities and inspire dynamic change. For Minot State University graduate and current nursing program student, Laura Hellmuth, returning to school as an older than average student brings a multifaceted challenge that can be both inspirational and daunting.

"Academically, I've always done well. When I graduated high school, I initially attended a university in Montana but didn't finish," Hellmuth said. "I met my husband in Las Vegas, and then my life dramatically changed course. Four weeks later, I found myself with him in his native Australia with two duffle bags, getting married and expecting our first child. After that, getting my degree became less of a priority. I tried to tell myself that not everyone needed a degree, but secretly, I was really disappointed that I hadn't finished school."

In 2012, Hellmuth, her husband and their two children found themselves embracing an opportunity that brought them back to Hellmuth's home state of North Dakota. With her parents living in Stanley, the Magic City became their ideal destination.

"We chose to move to Minot because of the resources here and because it's close to my parents," Hellmuth said. "At the time we returned to North Dakota, I wasn't even planning on returning to school but as my kids became more independent, I knew I just wanted to finish what I had started. I chose MSU because it was close to home, which allowed me to balance the demands both as a mom, and a student."

It is said that hindsight is 20/20. This is often particularly true for older than average students, whose wealth of life experience offers them a unique perspective and appreciation for their education.

"Looking back -- it's funny," Hellmuth said. "At 18, I had my sights set on going out of state for an education. I would have never even considered attending MSU. I wish I could go back in time and give myself advice. My experience at MSU has turned out to be the greatest thing I could have asked for. MSU offers a fabulous education affordably, with so much to offer and so many great people working here."

MSU's Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree opens doors to a variety of career choices, and Hellmuth, with her feet firmly planted in the right direction, and the support of her husband and her parents, already has her eyes set on an even brighter future in medicine.

"I would love to explore my academic opportunities to become a nurse practitioner, or perhaps an anesthetist or perhaps obtain a master’s degree in nursing. I couldn't have come this far without the amazing and loving support of my husband and parents, not just emotionally and mentally, but financially as well. They have made it possible for me to go after my dreams."

MSU boasts a dynamic hands-on learning environment that is supportive of student success. Students are encouraged to be involved with all areas of their education, including research. In addition to her studies at MSU, Hellmuth is a supplemental anatomy and physiology instructor and participates in neurobiology research under assistant professor Zeni Shabani's direction.