Deciding where to go to college can be a pretty daunting process. With many important aspects to consider, it can be overwhelming. For Krista Leistikow, the best option was right in her own backyard in Barron County.
As a student who wanted to stay close to home while completing a two-year degree, UW-Eau Claire – Barron County offered Leistikow exactly the options she needed to begin her path toward a career goal in higher education student services.
"Like most new students, I was terrified on that first day," she says. "But by the end of the first day, the first week, the first month, I'd consistently met new people and made friends."
Meeting new people and making connections on campus opened doors to activities and opportunities Leistikow never imagined she would experience, from student government to the Phi Theta Kappa honor society to leadership roles in campus theater and a work-study job in the library.
"Moving out of my parents' house into an apartment with my best friend was a big step," Leistikow says, describing how her sophomore year "flew by" as she plowed through the requirements for her associate of arts and sciences degree.
"I always knew that my plan was to transfer to a four-year school," Leistikow says. "UW-Eau Claire was on my radar as an option since high school, but the joining of the two campuses and the ease of transferring made it an easy choice for me."
Although graduating from UW-Eau Claire – Barron County is a huge accomplishment in and of itself, Leistikow is set on a path that will include two more graduation ceremonies in her future — a bachelor's degree from UW-Eau Claire and ultimately, a master's degree in student affairs.
"My long term-goal is to become a student affairs professional, with a focus on either academic advising, career counseling or maybe as a student life coordinator," she says, pointing to all the tremendous support she received from faculty and staff at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.
"I would not be who I am or know where I am headed without my fantastic two years here."
Photo caption: With her associate degree in hand, Krista Leistikow now plans to pursue a bachelor's degree at UW-Eau Claire.