Montana State University

Mountains and Minds

A virtual look at the MSU’s Class of 2020 November 22, 2016 contributions by MSU freshmen of the class of 2020 • Published 11/22/16

Class of 2020
Class of 2020

At more than 3,500 strong, they are the largest freshman class in Montana State history. Most of them were born in 1998. They have never seen an airplane ticket. They’d prefer if you send them a text—emails are often ignored—and telephone land lines are mostly a luxury. They are informed, complex and diverse. They are MSU’s Class of 2020.

Throughout the past summer, Nilam A. Patel, MSU’s social media strategist—provided a closed Facebook forum, or a group open only to class members, to MSU’s incoming freshman class. As the class members approached their first days of college, Patel asked them several questions about their lives so far, their opinions and how they see their place in the world. She let the students know that their answers may appear in Mountains and Minds. The answers to a few of those questions follow as they were written, providing a revealing and often poetic snapshot of MSU’s Class of 2020.

What global problem would you like to solve?

And how can MSU help you solve that problem?

Connor The balance between agriculture and industry in economic development.
Brent Our energy problem
Hailey Health. I think everyone should have an opportunity to see a doctor and get the medical help they need. This would include fresh and clean water around the globe to keep people healthy and safe. The healthier our minds and bodies, I believe the healthier our communities.
Bohdan The distribution of wealth and resources
Courtney The education gap.

What has been your most interesting job?

Chris Reffing hockey. I’ve seen it all, heard it all, called it all. But the pay is good so I can’t complain

Grant Helping flip houses was the most interesting job I ever had. You never knew what you were getting into until you started removing drywall, flooring, pipes, and so on. What I found wasn’t pleasant most of the time. I never knew such smells even existed.

Bekah Teaching 6th graders science outdoors at Jefferson County Outdoor Lab in Colorado. Outdoor Lab is a program run by my county’s public schools where all 6th graders come spend a week in the mountains. I lived on the site, taught curriculum, managed the dining hall, and monitored bunkhouse time for a semester. It was very fun, difficult, and rewarding.

Michael Beekeeping and honey making at Fitzgerald farms in Goochland Virginia! I maintained all organic, locally owned bee hives kept on the farm, along with many crops and flowers to keep the hives happy and healthy. We sold the honey, along with fruits and vegetables, on the Virginia Co-op! Definitely the most interesting job I ever had!

Rileigh Working at Paws Up Resort! I got to meet all kinds of amazing people I never thought I would, and we got to do all the activities they had available to guests. Hot air ballooning, white water rafting and staying in the glamping tents were just a few of the many things I did that summer.

Spencer Working at Walmart because you see the strangest stuff and the weirdest people on a daily basis

Olivia Working at a florist. Especially during the Valentine’s Day rush when I had to de-thorn 10,000 roses

How do you feel about gender roles and race in today’s america?

Connor Gender doesn’t matter; it’s each person’s brain and their ability to make rational decisions. Even if the decision happens not to be the right on, mistakes happen.
Rationality it’s the only role.
  >> That goes for race too

Jake Even if you don’t understand how someone could be a gender that is not male or female, it doesn’t matter and their choice isn’t affecting your life at all.
  >> Also, there are real race problems in our country, but there are also race problems that don’t exist that are being pushed by the mainstream media. If everyone was just kind to each other and listened to people’s stories and problems, a lot of the division in our country would disappear.

Hailey I just wish the whole world could be more accepting of all the people around them. I feel like a lot of people in all generations have deep opinions that aren’t exactly the kindest or most open; I think the more accepting society becomes, the better. I think we’re working as a society to that point; I don’t think we’ve made it yet.

Lyla I think that there is way too much pressure on everyone in general, no matter who you are, to fit into a clean cut “group.” Gender roles are a problem that media outlets control, they show commercials with dads doing yard work and moms doing dishes, and single moms and dads and usually too busy for their own good or alcoholics. That isn’t how real life works. Race is also controlled by media for a majority, if media only produces what they think we want to hear then there is a bias and it isn’t a truth, it’s a loose interpretation of what they think we want to hear. There is a serious race problem in America, but it isn’t a one way street there are racist people in every group that will cause problems and that is unfortunate.

What is your first memory of a major world event?

When was it?

Meghen Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004, I drew an American flag and set it out for his memorial. Also the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami—I remember seeing so much water on the news. I don’t think I understood just how devastating it was though.
  >> I mean, I kinda remember 9/11 but not as clearly as these two events...I mean I was only 3 in 2001 and 6 in 2004 so that makes sense

Connor 9-11 I was in Manhattan with my uncle and grandfather.

Ethan Steve Irwin’s death for sure
  >> Meghen That was so sad

Emma Does Mr. Rogers’ death count?

Jaydyn 9/11 I remember watching it on TV and not understanding why my parents were freaking out!

Hailey On 9/11 my whole family was watching the news as it happened. My birthday was just a week later and we had planned to go to Disneyland. I remember the park being almost empty since everyone was afraid of traveling at the time.

Cameron When Hostess went bankrupt in November of 2012. Twinkies became a glimpse of the past.

Jake In 2007 the I35W bridge collapsed near my house, and it was the first thing I ever remember watching on TV. My dad isa first responder so I remember him rushing out of the house to get there as fast as he could

Mindy  Probably Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I remember it was covered so extensively, and in school we were all exposed to it.

Patrick 2004 Pres election. I didn’t pay attention to it but I knew it was happening because we did an election in my 1st grade class which is really stupid looking back on it lol.

Connor I love how all the things we remember are either tragedies (terrorist attack, natural disasters) or stupid things that happened like catching a lot of fish or asking first graders to vote in the election

Desiray 2001 earthquake in WA. I was in 1st grade and part of our ceiling collapsed into the classroom. A light fixture fell on another student in a neighboring classroom. Kinda glad I moved away from there lol

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Taylor Serving the country as an officer in the US Army

Maria Doing research for NASA :)

Emily Working to rehabilitate race horses!

MacKenzie Hopefully working as a nurse overseas!

Spencer Freelance Photographer abroad

Meghen Hopefully making a difference somehow

Eric Commercial Pilot

Luke In dentistry school!

Bohdan Traveling engineer

Hailey Opening up a music venue and coffee shop with my friend, hopefully. We may need a lot of help with that...

Laurel I would love to travel abroad and work with women and children in rural or developing countries after earning my Nursing/Public Health degrees!

Lauren Teaching English as a second language to elementary students abroad

Rachel Pediatric oncology nurse

Elizabeth In my last years of school for veterinarian degree and working in someone’s office as a vet tech and possibly married and having kids

Becca Finding time for adventures while getting my graduate degree in Neuroscience

Aanya Hopefully beginning med school and/or doing Americorps/Doctors without Borders

Matthew Waist deep in a river with a rod in hand

Neil Infantry Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps

Madi Being 100% happy with my life and teaching in my own classroom :)

Oriana In graduate school, hopefully having figured out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Living with a small group of friends and lots of pets.

Stephanie Grad school for architecture

Mindy Keepin’ nature natural as a National Park Service ranger


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