Getting accepted into the South Dakota State University nursing program is no easy task. The application requirements include completion of prerequisite courses, a minimum GPA of 2.7, and a written essay explaining why you want to become a nurse.
Of the hundreds of applicants who applied for the 64 slots available at the main campus in Brookings, and the limited slots at the Rapid City campus, three Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School alumni received their congratulatory letters of acceptance and are now on their way to graduating with their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
They are Tori Jensen, Jessica Berndt and Jayda Farlee, all 2018 C-EB graduates. Jensen and Berndt both attend SDSU in Brookings and in Farlee in Rapid City.
On Monday, January 13, Brookings College of Nursing officially welcomed students to the beginning of their professional career during the White Coat Ceremony. Students were cloaked in a white coat, which is symbolic of the professional standards they must uphold during nursing school and throughout their career. Afterward, the students recited the Professional Nursing Pledge.
Both Jensen and Berndt have started their nursing courses and will begin clinicals within the next few months.
“Getting into the program is very competitive. We were told not to get our hopes up,” said Jensen, who shared that she was on top of the world when she received her acceptance letter.
Berndt shared the same sentiments, and said that it was her first time applying to nursing school. Both young women said that determination and hard work are musts in college.
“Keep going no matter what. Stick with it because not everyone will get in the first time. Lean on your family and friends because you can’t do it alone,” said Jensen.
The White Coat Ceremony for the Rapid City campus will take place on January 31, but Farlee said she has already started her nursing courses. Choosing to attend the SDSU satellite campus was a matter of the heart, said Farlee, who explained that she chose to remain closer to family and to live in the Black Hills that she loves so dearly.
The satellite campus offers the same courses as Brookings, and Farlee said she is also on track to graduate in May 2022.
Hailing from the small community of Lantry, Farlee said she understands how it can be intimidating for some to leave the comforts of home, but she said pursing education and life goals is “worth it.”
“Go for it. It is really scary getting off the reservation and leaving family, but your education can never be taken away from you. It’s something you’ll have forever,” Farlee said.
Both Jensen and Farlee said they hope to return to Cheyenne River after graduating to work at the Cheyenne River Health Center in Eagle Butte, while Berndt said she wants to work as an emergency room ICU nurse.
Tori is the daughter of Paula and Ronald Jensen. Jessica is the daughter of Barb and Randy Berndt. Jada is the daughter of Kit Veit and Donnie Farlee.