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Colby Schramel

Colby Schramel

Exploration Specialist | University Advisement Center

Belgrade, MN

My Story:
The beginning of college was a whirlwind of emotions for me, and I felt very lost in the sea of options. I knew I wanted to help others and that I loved working with people. I didn’t have to look far before I came across Nursing which matched all my criteria and seemed like a good fit until I learned about other paths. Thanks to an Exploration Specialist I continued exploring other paths. As I considered what mattered most to me, we found that Psychology also met my desires, while offering a better personality, interest, and lifestyle fit.


Book: The Storm Light series by Branden Sanderson
Movie: Top Gun: Maverick
Food: Authentic Mexican food
Animal: Wolf or Wolverine
Color: Green

Exploration experience

My mission really refined me from my high school years in which I focused solely on sports and did enough to get by. When I got home, I knew I needed to narrow in on my career goals and plans. My mission president had given me advice to, “do something that made good money and required little schooling”. So, armed with this information (not saying it was good or bad) and with a knowledge that I wanted to help people, I decided to pursue being a Nurse Practitioner.

I enjoyed learning about human anatomy and physiology, but it certainly wasn’t something that I thought about constantly or brought me a ton of joy. It seemed practical and reliable. I soon found that this path seemed daunting as I was being asked to apply myself in new ways I’d never been asked to do before.

I eventually switched my major to pre-med but still found myself not truly enjoying my classes.

As an extremely dedicated person, I committed to my path. I was closed off to other options and really just wanted to move forward. However, in casual conversations with an Exploration Specialist, I became aware of other options. It started to open my eyes towards paths I had not yet considered that might also be a good fit. That when I started to open up to the idea of alternate paths. I thought about the conversation that President Eyring had with his dad about caring deeply about what you are studying. In a discussion with him, he said, “You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don’t have to think about anything, that’s what you think about.” I then started to ponder what that could mean for me.

Upon reflection, I remembered that throughout my life I have experienced various difficulties which led me to learn about different coping mechanisms that have had a tremendous impact on me. I knew from personal experience that what I had learned could be life-changing. Upon this realization, I discovered that Psychology, and all that I could learn from it, was where I belonged. Although I’m still figuring out what I want to do within the field, I feel peace and determination moving forward.

Why is exploring important to me?

I sometimes wonder what I would be missing without exploration? No airplanes, no cars, no pizza, no phones, no games, no x-rays, no tv shows or movies, etc. Discovering is literally the foundation of our society and every day we rely on someone’s exploration.

I marvel at this but find myself often feeling like I could never measure up to these or anyone else’s accomplishments. I doubt my gifts and ability more often then I care to admit and yet, the more I stretch myself to explore the more confident I grow. Without tiny incremental exploration I would never be brave enough to dream big dreams and pursue a PhD.

Looking back:

I wish I would have been less stubborn. When I think I have a good idea I latch on to it and don’t let go. Looking back I realize this mindset limited my opportunities and growth. Exploring and change can be hard but if I could go back I would be more open to researching the various majors instead of doing what I thought I wanted without considering other options.

Does pineapple belong on pizza? Belong is a strong word, I would say it is an option :)

Boring fact about you? I enjoy baking cookies!

Anything outdoors is my jam! This includes hiking, trail running, hammocking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, long boarding, surfing, and basically any sport. I also like to tap into my artistic side by painting, baking, and wood working. I love watching movies and talking about them afterwards with my wife. One of my weirder hobbies is people watching and talking to people, if that is considered a hobby. One of my newer hobbies I recently discovered is organizing and decorating rooms with furniture, pictures, etc.