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“I just love the atmosphere. One of the first days here, they were having a career fair out in the quad — I remember watching movies about college life and people walking in the quad — and I was replaying it in my head. I remember my first time walking through there and thinking that I was getting to live that life. I just love it, I just love being a college student here.”
Elizabeth Nadeau, junior, management and marketing

University Communications

Nadeau driven to succeed

MINOT, N.D. – The scene unfolds exactly as Elizabeth Nadeau pictured it: college campus, bright green tree leaves, students and faculty milling around, career fairs, live music, student organizations, old and new friends — the quad.

All of this — the people, noise, contagious energy, fresh beginnings, and opportunity — played out like a movie sequence that Nadeau experienced firsthand when she came to Minot State University.

“I just love the atmosphere. One of the first days here, they were having a career fair out in the quad — I remember watching movies about college life and people walking in the quad — and I was replaying it in my head. I remember my first time walking through there and thinking that I was getting to live that life. I just love it, I just love being a college student here,” Nadeau said.

Life was full of twists and turns before Nadeau had the chance to walk through the quad at Minot State. Bullied in her freshman and sophomore years in high school, before transferring to Dunseith for her junior and senior years, Nadeau was also sexually abused at the age of 19.

“I was never fully educated on that stuff (sexual abuse). And when it happened to me, I didn’t come out and tell anyone about it until after a year and a couple months,” Nadeau said.

The anxiety that followed had Nadeau feeling uncertain about her future. Nadeau grew up on the Garden Gate Golf Course in Dunseith, where both her parents worked, and went to state every year, seventh through twelfth grade, for the sport she’d been playing since infancy.

“I got a golf scholarship in Glendive (Dawson Community College, Mont.), but I didn’t take it. All I wanted to do was work and do other things besides go to school. All I wanted to do was make money, but I was working dead-end jobs, not getting anywhere, and my career wasn’t progressing the way I wanted it to,” Nadeau said. “After everything had happened, I was in such a rough spot in my life. I turned to alcohol. I would drink all the time. I would blame my parents. I would blame everyone but the actual person who did it.”

Then, Nadeau’s life came into focus.

“I was 26 when I got pregnant. I knew immediately that everything I would do was for her. She changed my life,” Nadeau said.

When Nadeau talks about two-year-old Isabella her entire body lights up and her high school nickname — Smiley — comes to life. Today, Nadeau and her daughter make the 92-mile trek from Dunseith to Minot five days a week so she can pursue her marketing and management degrees.

“There are days that I wake up and I’m so exhausted, but then I look at Isabella and I say, ‘I have to go.’ I have to get her up,” Nadeau said about the commitment to her studies. “I have a lot of time management. I literally have an agenda and it’s completely packed with everything I have to do.”

“Liz’s life path has taken her on quite a journey. She has a lot of drive, so the drive back and forth is par for the course,” Annette Mennem, Native American Center director and Diversity Council co-chairperson, said of the Native American Cultural Awareness Club treasurer.

That drive has also led Nadeau to the management position at the Garden Gate Golf Course.

“The summer I was pregnant, in 2016, I went back to working at the golf course,” Nadeau said. “I just fell into becoming the manager and I love being in the position. Maybe that’s why I switched my major (from accounting). When I did that, I felt such a sense of relief inside myself. I thought, ‘That’s what I really want to do.’”

Nadeau intends to continue working at the golf course, at least until graduation. And wherever life takes her next, she will do it with her inspiration — Isabella — by her side.

“Life just takes you on different paths and you’ve got to learn your own way,” said Nadeau. “You’ve got to maneuver through life at your own pace, and that’s just what I’m doing. I feel like I’m going to do great things.”

ABOUT MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 11/08/18



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