Experiences Don’t Always Make The Future Clear, And That’s Alright: Dominique’s Story

Experiences Don’t Always Make The Future Clear, And That’s Alright: Dominique’s Story

A trip across the world is something that comes potentially once in a lifetime for most adults. For Dominique Swanson, a Bloomfield, Nebraska native, this happened when she was no older than 16. As a sophomore in high school, Swanson had won a scholarship only given out to a select few in the nation. This scholarship gave the recipient the opportunity to study abroad in Japan for a month.

Now Swanson sits in Bob Roe’s Bar just finishing her meal elaborating on her first major travel experience.

According to Swanson, living in Japan required a lengthy commute to school each day. After preparing for the day, Swanson departed from her host family’s home for a 15-minute walk to the train station. After a drawn-out metro ride, she hops off of the train and continues from the station with another 15-minute walk to the school.

Back at her Nebraska home, the school building was less than a quarter-mile away. This was an obvious change for Dominique.

Surprisingly Japan is not this Nebraskan minor’s only stop. Swanson has taken trips to Mexico, Germany, and various locations in the country. In fact, she won’t forget to point out her long awaited study abroad program next semester to Italy.

Today Dominique, a 20 year-old college junior at Morningside, has a whole new set of experiences she’s completed that keep her constantly thinking about the future. While a multitude of travel would seem to have made many life choices clear, For Dominique this isn’t the case. Choosing a career has been a difficult decision.

As she ponders her career choices and how she’s applying her course work, she grabs her nearly empty glass and fumbles with the ice at the bottom. “I’m learning some interesting and valuable things, but none of it is directed towards what I want to do. I can say that simply because I don’t know what I want to do.”

Swanson flashed through a number of different career choices which involved being an event planner, Peace Corps participant, and working with a non-profit animal outreach organization.

Schoolwork is not the only thing that matters in college though, social life can make or break your higher education experience. Having traveled extensively at a young age, many would think that Swanson would constantly be outgoing. On the contrary, being an introvert or an extrovert may seem too categorical for Swanson. With confidence Dominique speaks about seeing herself as a well-balanced mix of both.

“There are times where I want to sit in my room and be alone, but I’m still a social being. So in the cafeteria I’ll go around and talk to everybody. I enjoy the perks of both sides and I accept the situation that I’m in.”

Sheri Hineman, the assistant director of Residence Life at Morningside College for 6 years, saw the more extroverted and positive side out of Swanson. Dominique is a full time Residence Assistant at Morningside College and was hired as one during her sophomore year.

“She’s happy and willing to do the job with a positive attitude. She genuinely cares about her residence and that’s what we look for in Residence Assistance. My memories of Dominique are of her being very social and friendly.”

Hineman is one of the many that see the opportunity and work ethic in Swanson, even when she herself finds her future to be unpredictable.

Back at the restaurant, Swanson recalls more events in her life that have truly conditioned her into the woman she is today, one series of events in particular involving her father.

During her middle school years, Swanson’s father, Robert, suffered from a series of severe strokes that caused him to become physically disabled.

As Swanson describes this time in her life, she took on a more serious tone. With an awkward chuckle to try and lighten the mood Swanson says, “It was a very depressing time when Dad got sick.”

According to Dominique, it was the night after the Father-Daughter dance at high school that something seemed to be going wrong. The next day, Robert Swanson was taken to the local hospital, and then soon after a life-flight to Lincoln.

After the tragedy, Robert needed the help of both his spouse and daughter to help him live day to day. With more assurance in her voice, Swanson described this as a true wake up call to life. “Having to take care of your dad instead of being taken care of. Having to talk to mom about the realer things of life like financial responsibilities. I was already mature for my age, but this made me grow up ten times faster.”

With so much emotional strife within the life of this young woman, Dominique keeps pushing along. According to the people around Dominique, she always finds ways to take the focus off of her life and on to others.

Anna Hart, a long time friend of Dominique, couldn’t agree more with her view of Swanson’s personality.

“Dominique is one of the most positive, selfless people I know. She loves giving celebratory gifts just to see someone’s reaction and enjoys spending quality time with those she loves. She’s a very open person with a kind heart. I’m lucky to know her as well as I do.”

While the world has definitely given Dominique her fair share of practice and lessons for the adult world, in the end, she’s still alright with being a young adult.

“I have constant mini-melt downs on a regular basis, but I think of how blessed I am to have so many options. Life has been good to me.”