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LynAnne Evenson, class of 2008.

LynAnne Evenson, Class of 2008

Class of 2008: M follows two students as they navigate the first-year experience

M follows two students as they navigate the first-year experience

By Rick Moore

Originally published on September 15, 2004

Deciding to attend college, finding the money, picking the school, waiting for the acceptance letter. For some University alums, these may be distant memories. But for members of the Class of 2008, which began classes on September 7, these pursuits have been the focal point of their lives for months. M will be following two students from the Class of 2008--LynAnne Evenson and Alex Moss--throughout the 2004-05 academic year. In this and each of the next three issues, you'll hear about the ups and downs, triumphs and travails, of their freshmen year at the U.

In many aspects, LynAnne Evenson and Alex Moss are worlds apart. Evenson grew up on St. Paul's East Side in the Mounds Park area--a working-class neighborhood splayed with older, modest homes and a large share of new immigrants. She graduated from St. Paul Harding, an urban school that's become, in the last 30 years, the epitome of racial and ethnic diversity. Moss was raised in Highland Park, Illinois, an upper middle-class suburb just north of Chicago--right off of Lake Michigan--and attended Highland Park High School, which he describes first and foremost as very academically competitive.

"I was always planning on going to college," says Evenson. "As far as I'm concerned, you have to have a college degree to go anywhere in the world. And I'm planning on going somewhere; I just don't know where."

Moss is a third-generation college student. His parents both have bachelor's degrees--his father from the University of Illinois and his mother from Northern Illinois University. Moss's grandmother, on his father's side, had a master's degree in art education, and his grandfather went to college for a couple of years before World War II altered his higher-education course. Moss has one younger brother. On the other hand, Evenson, the oldest of five siblings, will be charting a new course as the first in her family to pursue higher education. Her father received a number of computer certifications but did not attend college. "I'm zee first," she jokes. "I was always planning on going to college. As far as I'm concerned, you have to have a college degree to go anywhere in the world. And I'm planning on going somewhere; I just don't know where." Both Moss and Evenson excelled in high school. Moss had a GPA of 3.86, unweighted, and qualified for admission to the Carlson School of Management, one of the U's most competitive colleges. He feels his prep education will serve him well at the U. "It was challenging," he says of Highland Park High School. "I think it prepared me; that's the main thing." Moss applied to a whopping 14 colleges ("That's way overkill," he concedes), most of them Big Ten schools or other colleges in the Midwest. He eventually narrowed his choices to three--the University of Illinois, Miami of Ohio, and the University of Minnesota--before deciding on the U and its Carlson School. "I wasn't [accepted] in the University of Illinois's business school but I was in Carlson School of Management," Moss says. "That, along with the city and the chance of internships, [made me decide on the U of M]." Evenson's high-school GPA is practically off the charts--3.97 straight up and 4.35 when weighted for her international baccalaureate (IB) classes. But despite perhaps a wealth of options, she really only seriously considered one college--the University of Minnesota. "It's close to home, it's a public school, and it's really the only place I wanted to go," she says. "I take that back. I did [consider] the University of Southern California, but by the time I thought of that it was too late in my senior year to apply.... The University was just the 'normal' place for me to go." Evenson received a full scholarship from the Hull Foundation, aimed at students from the East Side with good academic backgrounds. The scholarship will pay for her tuition, fees, and books, meaning she will only need to cover housing and living expenses. She plans to live at home with her three sisters and one brother, for the time being, and would like to find a job on campus "in the evenings or whenever I can wing it." As for commuting, she plans to either take the bus to campus or travel "by car halfway and by bus halfway, because I'm so not parking on campus." Moss is also the recipient of a large scholarship--the National Gold Scholarship from the University, worth about $11,000 a year. But since Moss is from Illinois, he is required to pay nonresident tuition. With the scholarship, his remaining share of tuition and fees will be about the same as an average Minnesota resident. "I'm on my own, pretty much," says Moss. "My dad said even if he had the money, he'd still want me to pay for [college], because you have a better appreciation if you pay for it on your own." After a pause, he adds: "So I won't be skipping many classes." He plans to take out loans as necessary and "hopefully get a really good job after graduation, and pay [them] off with that." At Carlson, Moss will double-major in marketing and entrepreneurship. He has his own small business creating special-event montages and has produced a workout training video. Down the road, he envisions "some kind of career where I could use my creativity and possibly be an entrepreneur. And I could use some business skills to back that up." He's interested in a number of activities and clubs at the U, including intramurals, rock climbing, tae kwon do, and gymnastics. Evenson is less decided on a career path. She originally thought of becoming a dental hygienist. Now she's leaning toward something related to political science. "At school, I was always known for being opinionated and would fight for anything I thought was right, even if I was wrong," Evenson says. She describes her political views as "more conservative," and says she plans to join organizations like The Patriot newspaper and the College Republicans on campus. Despite their many differences, and the diverse paths they will pursue at the University, both Evenson and Moss are both looking forward to jumping into college life. "Many people say it's so much different [from high school], " says Evenson. "But you know what, it's still classes and it's still work. It's 'school,' so it shouldn't be that much different." "Everyone says your GPA drops, so I'm expecting it to be harder or equally hard, with obviously a lot more studying," says Moss. "I'm just excited for the whole experience, really. I'm not real worried about anything."