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Alexis Bakken

Why did you decide to go to the University of Wisconsin?

I decided to go to UW-Madison for a combination of many reasons. The main one was that it offered a journalism degree which is what I hoped to pursue, which was proving hard to come by in other UW schools. At first, I never saw myself going to a larger school, especially since I was so used to living in a small town. However, I remember my UW-Madison tour in the end of February. It was past the beautiful, snowy Christmas season and had transformed into the slushy season simply described as grey. Everything was dismal and cold, yet I still fell in love with the city and the campus. I loved everything about it and I just had this feeling that I was meant to go there. After that, no other college turned my head, and my mind was set.

What are you interested in studying?

I am not able to declare my major until sophomore year, but I do hope to double major in journalism and English with a creative writing tract. I chose this because I love to write and share the stories of people who are not typically given a voice. I also love all aspects of creativity and I have an aspiration to write and publish a novel one day.

How has the pandemic impacted the start of your college career?

I think, in a way, the pandemic was a blessing. With everything closed, extra curricular postponed, and in-person activities canceled, I was left to find other means of meeting people and developing a community. I ended up finding this at St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center and I am SO incredibly blessed to have discovered this place. It has become a second home. I met an incredible group of people who will no doubt become life-long friends, I have grown tremendously in my faith, I have gotten more involved in the community, I have gained so much confidence, and I even found my prince charming. That sounds very cheesy, but it is the truth. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for this pandemic and the opportunities that have arose from it.

What is one key thing you have learned or experienced in your short time on campus?

During my first semester at UW-Madison, I have learned that college is not about pulling all-nighters to study for exams or chugging coffee at midnight. It is about finding community, making lasting and meaningful friendships, grasping every opportunity, and growing as a person. In high school, I was a very dedicated student and I would shudder if I received anything under an A. I still like to hold myself to that higher standard, but I have learned to work hard and do my best. College is difficult, it is meant to be, and it is okay not to be perfect.

Have you joined any groups or organizations on campus?

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 I was unable to join any clubs on campus. However, I was able to join a choir and sing a mass at St. Paul’s. I also joined a bible study and a freshmen small group that have allowed me to connect, find mentors, and grow as a person. Everything has been such a rewarding experience and I would not trade it for anything.

Any words to those who support the WAA: Fox Valley Chapter?

I would like to thank everyone who donates to the WAA: Fox Valley Scholarship program. Your generosity has provided me with an amazing opportunity to attend UW-Madison and pursue my dreams! I am so blessed to be a recipient of this scholarship and I hope I will make the alumni proud with my accomplishments.