Since graduating from Mandan High School in 2012, Brooke Ternes has led an interesting life traveling the country taking seasonal jobs. She worked at a fudge shop on Mackinac Island in Michigan, did housekeeping for at a private ski mountain club in Montana, worked at a gym in Miami, did both online advertising and cabin housekeeping for an RV park in California, made and sold candles in Oregon and worked as a server in Colorado. In March 2020, she was training to work on cruise line on the Mississippi River. The pandemic brought her home.
Ternes turned the abrupt change in her plans into an opportunity to go back to school. She enrolled in BSC and began classes in the fall of 2020.
“I figured this is the perfect time to go to school. I’m in North Dakota. College would be cheaper than if I was in some other state. My biggest obstacle was deciding to stay in one spot for a period of time longer than just moving with the seasons.”
Although the pandemic has presented many challenges for educational institutions, Ternes said she has actually benefited from some of the resulting changes. The small class sizes and online learning platforms helped her adjust to becoming a student again. Plus, her daytime class schedule allows her to continue working a job in the evenings.
“BSC staff, professors and my peers have all been very welcoming. Especially with hybrid classes, it was a really good time for me to come back to school. The classes are smaller and in a more intimate setting. It was less abrupt being eight years out of school and not doing any schooling and then going back.”
BSC’s staff and professors connect students, like Ternes, with the resources they need to succeed. Visit the Adult Students page of the BSC website for more information.
“I hadn’t written a paper in the last eight years and coming back to school that has been an obstacle, but the tutoring room and my professors’ guidance with writing outlines has helped a lot.”
A liberal arts student, Ternes planned to pursue psychology. After attending a BSC virtual open house, she also decided to face her fear of being onstage by taking theatre classes.
Pursue Your Passion At Any Age from BSC College Relations on Vimeo.
She was cast for a role in “Voices of Dakota Prairie: An Original Play about the First Homesteaders in Dakota” written and directed by Daniel Bielinski, University of Mary theater program director. It was a collaboration between BSC and the University of Mary. Taking theatre classes and being in that production helped Ternes discover her passion and gave her confidence to speak in front of people.
Charlotte Williams, BSC assistant professor of psychology and Ternes’ advisor, took note of her newly discovered interests and recommended she consider a career in drama therapy. It’s a method of using theatre skills to meet therapeutic goals. For example, someone can learn to express and work through their feelings by embodying a character and acting out scenarios. With this career goal in mind, Ternes is now working toward a double major in psychology and theatre.
“Before deciding to come to BSC, I wanted to move to LA to do acting classes so I could learn if I was having a bad day how can I channel a different emotion and how can I turn that day around through maybe channeling another character and through expression. When I came to BSC, I was able to take an acting course that is helping me learn how to do that.”
Now that she has jumped back into academia, she would wholeheartedly recommend BSC to anyone considering going back to school. Ternes said she has gained knowledge, confidence and direction in the few months she has been attending classes.
“My acting instructor, Danny Devlin, and all of my other professors are amazing. Everybody is very resourceful and really aim toward your success. I came to BSC to pursue psychology, which was very broad, and by taking other classes it’s helped me define my path academically and for my future. It’s really exciting. Being 26, I feel like finally I have a sense of direction and purpose for my life.”
For more information on BSC and to apply, visit bismarckstate.edu.