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School choice directs studentsʼ life path


May 8, 2014

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been the fourth stop in my collegiate journey. After high school, I traveled to Bozeman, Mont., for my freshman year as a film student and to finally snowboard on a real mountain. I was living in dreams. I still describe my time there as not actually being real. The fulfillment and satisfaction of being on top of the diverse Bridger mountain range was enough.

I realized that powder was for down the road and that I should concentrate on rail and street riding while I am young and can take more of a beating. The high cost of out-of-state tuition was not personally sustainable there anyway. So, I moved back and dabbled with a few community college classes and commuted to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for a class as well.

I took a complete semester off to only work. Slanging honey all day bored me so much that it made me look in the direction of River Falls for journalism. By this time, I had gotten my feet wet with professional style filming and reporting for the newspaper. Journalism was a way to learn a range of skills while being more practical in terms of job availability than pursuing the film industry, so the switch made sense. I subleased into River Falls with two unknown roommates for spring semester and have not yet looked back.

This school and community took me by surprise. For one, the tuition was the lowest I could find in the area. I had heard the great professors may leave to other institutions for better positions and pay, but many stay because of how truly great the spot of River Falls is.

Suddenly, my first semester is closing here at the University. This place was a hazy, far out, Wisconsin town that I knew nothing about growing up in the infamous city of Hastings across the border. That haze has completely lifted and I look forward to staying.

The university setting is remarkable and it has really focused me.

Bruce Lee once said “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

I believe that happiness is the constant improvement of one’s life. Set your goals high, because if the path becomes twisted, you still grew to a higher level and new place of understanding. If you simply continue the relentless pursuit, then you are successful. Mistakes are made and struggles will be fought, but this is part of learning.

Jack Haren is a journalism student with a political science minor. His free time is spent snowboarding, skateboarding, reading, writing, designing, listening, experimenting and living minimally. In the future he wishes to freelance and travel the world.