She’s discovering her gift to help others after her journey to recovery

Alex Johnson grew up in East Grand Forks, MN, and recently completed the Administrative Assistant degree program at NCTC. She is inspiring others after overcoming addiction and finding her gift to help others who are dealing with life’s obstacles. Her ambition to serve her community and church, as a single mother, while earning her degree provides hope to others for a promising future.

“I received my GED at Northland in 2007. After receiving my GED, I started taking classes at the college and just kept coming back because everyone is so welcoming. I became familiar with the advisors and staff that helped me out so much. Life would happen and I would take a semester off, but because of the familiarity I had with the college, I would come back and pick up right where I left off. I chose the Administrative Assistant program because I like scheduling, entering data, organization and ordering supplies. It was just one of those things that I figured I was good at and all of the classes in the curriculum interested me.”

I have two kids, ages 2 and 5, so it is all about finding the right balance in my schedule. Northland provided that.

“I love the diversity at Northland. I have a lot of friends here who are also moms. You get all walks of life. Even my dad came to Northland after 20 years in the service and earned his HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) degree. I feel everyone here wants to better their lives and they have the drive for it. That is something that inspires me and it is my favorite part about Northland. I also enjoy the class scheduling and flexibility. I took the minimum credits for full-time. It felt like the course load was a good amount of stress, but I could still focus on each class. I got a work-study job on campus where I help out doing some administrative work in the main office area. It worked out perfectly to go to work while I wasn’t in class … and gain experience. I have two kids, ages 2 and 5, so it is all about finding the right balance in my schedule. Northland provided that.”

“I enjoy volunteering and have helped out locally at the Women’s Pregnancy Center and Freedom Church. I became a leader at Freedom Church for the Celebrate Recovery group. Celebrate Recovery is a help group for people with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I have dealt with addiction in the past, but everyone there has a different story. It has really helped me grow a lot, and after a year being clean, I became a church lead. It’s really great that I can give back to the community now that I’ve overcome the shame. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, but I am really glad I found a place where there is zero judgement.”

I’m very proud of everything I’ve overcome so far. I never gave up.

“After graduation I plan to stay in East Grand Forks … I just love it in this area. I hope to find a job or continue my education in the near future. My dream job would be to work for a non-profit organization as the administrative assistant. There are certain gifts that people are given … I think this is my gift … to be able to help others with my experiences and education.”

“I’m very proud of everything I’ve overcome so far. I never gave up. I’ve been going to school since 2007 and taking a few classes off and on. I had some personal life events happen and had to take some breaks. Now I’m 27, a single mom with two kids, 16-months clean, and just earned my degree. Having dealt with addiction in the past I am so grateful that I am now able to help others. My goal in this life is to be happy and help others get out of the pit. I’ve become very aware of sensing when people are suffering … you can see it in their faces. I hope by sharing my story I can help others overcome their challenges and see the path forward.”

Administrative Assistant Student
East Grand Forks, MN

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