The “Where are They Now,” four-part series concludes with this week’s column. Featured this week is Cassidy, whom, along with the three other fine young ladies who have journeyed through college these past four years, is a 2017 Lanesboro High School graduate.

Cassidy walks across the Luther College Commencement stage this coming May after majoring in not one, but two very different arenas. With true grit and hard work, she will earn degrees in nursing and Nordic studies.

Cassidy said it was her grandfather’s cancer diagnosis that brought her to the career for her future.

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“Although I did not have any medical knowledge at the time, I knew I needed to help in some way," she said. "By helping him, I realized I have the capacity for understanding others and helping them during the time they need it most.”

Cassidy also pursued a degree in Nordic studies, and I needed to know the why behind it.

“Due to my deep Norwegian heritage and growing up surrounded by Scandinavian influences, I felt it to be a 'no brainer' to take Norwegian as my college language," she said. "The language classes influenced me enough to want to learn as much about Norwegian culture as I could in order to be the best possible representative of Nordic ancestry.”

Now, a lot of students may be intrigued by the thought of getting a degree in their ancestry, but doing so requires a certain amount of drive and see through.

All four students were asked their favorite college experiences. None of the answers included partying or spring break. For Cassidy, it was the 120 hours she spent on the labor and delivery unit completing her capstone. “Not only was it fun during this time, but I was also able to utilize skills I learned in class! At the same time, I saw how this area can be a devastating time for families. My skills of understanding, empathy and compassion were utilized during the happy and, sadly, not-so-happy times.”

Nothing beats being able to travel, and for her Nordic studies, Cassidy's favorite experience was visiting Norway. Who wouldn’t love that? Through her travels, her love of Norwegian culture grew, but mostly because of Norwegians' love of the outdoors.

“Growing up on a farm,” Cassidy states, “I have learned to appreciate and take care of the nature that surrounds us. Norwegians, as a whole, have developed an appreciation and love for the outdoors, which they call ‘friluftsliv’.” I wish I could say that!

For Norwegians, “connecting with the outdoors is an important part of their daily lives, even with advances in technology and modern living.”

Landing a dream job became reality for Cassidy. She has already accepted a position working as an obstetrics nurse, where she will be able to continue her passion for taking care of families during vulnerable times in their lives. But why stop with one’s dream job? Cassidy would love to get her DNP to become a professor to teach within the nursing and Nordic studies curriculum. This, of course, would involve teaching a month- or semester-long course in Norway about what health care looks like there.

“I believe there is so much we can learn about the health care system in Norway,” she said.

Cassidy’s advice to high school students is short but poignant, “Keep an open mind and let your world open with each class you take.”

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com.