Alumna Sonja Collin gets out of life what she puts in


Brian Johnson

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Alumna Sonja Collin gets out of life what she puts in

Communication skills are critical for new students entering the job market. Some work hard and take classes to hone interpersonal dexterity. The lucky ones are natural communicators.

"Growing up, I thought being a librarian would be kind of fun, but then I realized you had to be quiet." said University of North Dakota graduate Sonja Collin. "I knew that it wouldn't work for me. I realized that I thrived in a more business professional setting."

When she arrived at UND, Collin, a Bismarck, N.D. native, searched for a major that fit well with her natural skills, and marketing appealed to her because of the communication aspect.

"The chair, Dr. Askim-Lovseth, was very influential." said Collin. "I had her for Consumer Behavior, and she made that class so interesting. It made me feel at ease that I chose the right major and was heading in the right direction."

A third generation UND graduate, Collin created an impressive resume during her four years as a student.

In conjunction with her sorority, Delta Gamma, Collin volunteered at the North Dakota School for the Blind and was committed to raising Service for Sight donations. Under her leadership as president, the UND chapter of Delta Gamma sponsored Everson Family/Delta Gamma Lectureship in Values and Ethics. Collin received a marketing internship in the Athletics department, gained a spot on the 2012 homecoming court, and reached a personal high when she received the 2012 Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship. Along with tuition money, the scholarship presented her with opportunities to speak at several UND events, including Take Back the Night.

Looking back, Collin is amazed that she was able to accomplish so much as a full-time student. Her time management skills are a manifestation of an adage she lives by ? I can do it all, but I can't do it all at once.

"I give credit to my mother. She used to say that." Collin says with a smile. "I apply it to huge life goals, but I also apply it on a day-to-day basis. When I tell myself that, it grounds me again. People will respect you more for being honest about what you can do instead of promising more than you can actually give."

Collin's ability and willingness to take on extra work created several opportunities, including an internship for U.S. Senator John Hoeven in the summer of 2012.

"To work for a senator from North Dakota ? the envy of the nation ? was great." Collin said. "You saw it firsthand. The people would say 'Oh, North Dakota, you got it going on up there ? you have the oil, all the surplus money.'"

North Dakota also has a lot more open space than the District of Columbia, something Collin says she missed about the area.

"I missed driving and seeing a field" she said. "I couldn't wait to get home, unpack, repack, come back to UND, and have that drive to myself."

Collin graduated from UND in May with a marketing degree and recently accepted a job with Gate City Bank to do mortgage lending full time. She will train through September with the intent to work in the Grand Forks market.

"I love Grand Forks. I like the town, I like the people. I stayed up here to take summer classes and work, so I was able to get that exposure to the community." Collin said. "Some students who are only here from September to May don't get that opportunity. I look at it as an enriching aspect of my college experience."

Now that Collin has received her bachelor's degree and made a seamless transition into the workforce, she has good advice to offer students entering their freshman year at UND.

"You can do it all, but you can't do it all at once," she says with a laugh. "I don't think my mom thought that would resonate so much when she said it."

Brian Johnson

University and Public Affairs writer

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