Pursuing and Achieving Goals

Our criminal justice program coordinator said this semester would fly by, and she wasn’t kidding. I’ve completed midterms, meaning I have just a few months left until graduation in May. It’s amazing to realize that only last June I decided to pursue a degree in law enforcement at Leech Lake Tribal College, and in a very short time, I will achieve that goal. However, earning an AAS degree in law enforcement is only the beginning of what is proving to be a fascinating odyssey.

I encourage anyone attending tribal college to participate in other enriching activities besides your classes. Because I worked hard and earned academic distinction on the president’s list, I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Upsilon Omega chapter, where I’ve already met many impressive people, including the president of Central Lakes College. I’ve been working as a security officer for CLC and received a promotion to field training officer, which allows me to meet a wide variety of individuals, including students, faculty, administration, local police chiefs, and even the county sheriff!

Blogging for TCJ Student has been a great experience, providing a platform for refining different writing styles. This experience gave me the confidence to enter a short story in TCJ Student’s creative writing competition, which won a prize in the fiction category. I’ve never tried to write fiction before, but my experience blogging and writing for college classes paid off unexpectedly. I’ve submitted my creative writing to CLC’s journal, as well.

My most challenging goal this semester was undoubtedly the pre-skills physical assessment, which I needed to pass to attend Minnesota peace officers skills training after graduation. I’ve been running, doing push-ups, sit-ups, and other exercises in preparation, but wasn’t sure that I would pass this requirement and be formally admitted into the skills program.

I’m not going to lie; that afternoon was a challenging and painful experience, mainly because I am much older than the average student. Despite being considerably older and smaller, I could still pass the physical assessment tests, while many students far younger, bigger, and stronger failed. They had the size, strength, and ability, but I think they lacked the desire. I share this with you in case you’ve been interested in a career in law enforcement, but didn’t know if you could do it. I haven’t succeeded in accomplishing my goals because I am exceptionally gifted or talented in any way. Once I was able to overcome preconceived notions and self-doubt and thoroughly commit myself to setting and accomplishing goals, I have been able to achieve success that no one thought possible.

Earning my peace officer skills certificate in July is the next big goal, but I’m keeping busy by setting and pursuing other goals. I’ve been accepted into the BS criminal justice program at Bemidji State University, and based on my strong academic performance, I have already been accepted as a member of the Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Society at BSU. I submitted a unique business solution for resorts and law enforcement in northern Minnesota and have made it to the semi-finals in CLC’s Raider Cup business competition, to be held in April. Because this is spring break, I’ve had the time to explore online master’s programs in criminal justice. I hope to find a suitable program within the Minnesota State system if I can secure the same tuition breaks available at the undergraduate level. Because yes, I’m considering a doctoral degree in criminal justice/law enforcement when the time is right. Even while giving your current goals 100%, you should still plan for future goals to keep you motivated and moving forward in your career and life.

Rachel Peterman, JD, is a student at Leech Lake Tribal College.

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