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Psychology Student of the Month


My name is Natalie Berg and I’m an international student from Germany. Last year, in July, I moved to the United States and I’m so thankful to be here. People always ask me “Why Normandale?” or “Why Minnesota?” Over a decade ago my grandparents and other relatives moved from Russia to the States, and I visited them a lot over the years. I remember how my aunt brought me to the Normandale Japanese Garden nine years ago, and I fell in love. I was thinking to myself “wouldn’t it be nice to study right next to this beautiful place?” Nine years later…here I am.


I was so excited to take a psychology class in my first semester because psychology always fascinated me, and I wanted to learn more about it. If I could take this class again, I would because our professor never failed to amaze us. My personal favorite topics were memory, sleeping disorders (especially sleepwalking), and other disorders, like PTSD or panic disorders. For everyone who is interested in how the human brain/mind works, I would highly recommend taking a PSYC class. To be honest, I don’t really know what I want to do after college because I am interested in so many things such as music, landscaping, and psychology. But I do not worry about that because I believe when the time is right, I will know what to do!



Tenzin Palkyi.jpg

My name is Tenzin Palkyi. I am a Tibetan refugee born and raised in India. I am a very spiritual, family-oriented person. My whole life manifests the teachings of H. H. The Dalai Lama, the sacrifices, and the hard work of my grandparents and parents. Being the first high school graduate in my family, seeing the hardship of my elders and the vulnerability of those younger than me took away my fear of the future, and prioritizing the needs of my family became my only dream. I am blessed to receive the teachings of His Holiness that guided me to be kind, to never give up, and to overcome the traumas of adverse childhood events (ACES). I moved to the United States through family immigration just before the Covid outbreak. After coming here, I knew I had to rebuild everything from scratch and restart my academic journey. For quite some time, I started asking myself “What would you do, Tenzin?” and each time, a voice inside me was telling me, “How about being a healthcare worker?” Hence with great enthusiasm and help from some amazing people, I completed my phlebotomy and medical assisting certification. Soon after, I went to India and married last year. Talking with my husband, I then decided to follow my calling and complete my college degree in memory of my furry baby named Joy, a black miniature poodle, who taught me the values of love and the importance of living in the moment. Currently, I am in my second semester of the pre-nursing program at Normandale.
The first college course I took in my journey was Introduction to Psychology. Exploration of the human mind has always been very interesting to me. Learning to better articulate themes of experience through the class was a really fun and eye-opening thing for me. There was an awe moment of learning something new in almost every class. The practical implications of the concepts of how the human mind works and the scientific approaches to various life questions were fascinating. I am forever grateful to our professor that I am better able to understand myself and the world around me, and I am better able to face the challenges of life. It was an adventurous, life-transforming, self-exploring, and mind-healing class for me. If someone is seeking answers to life’s simple yet very deep questions about the human mind and how it works, Psychology courses are a great way to go. For me, the intro class was like a delicious appetizer leaving me with a hunger to learn more. Although my short-term goal is to become a nurse, my long-term goal is to major in Psychology while working as a nurse and continue this quest about our mind and behavior.

I feel privileged to be here at Normandale, and I am incredibly grateful to receive the opportunity to pursue my dreams. In my home country, I have seen many individuals who have had their potential go to waste because they did not have access to the same resources I now have. As a forty-three-year-old first-generation ESL college attendee, I hope to inspire the younger generation to act out their dreams and show them if someone with my experiences can work towards living a meaningful life and pursuing dreams, they can, too. I hope I can reciprocate the love and kindness I receive here at Normandale by completing my graduation and inspiring others.

If I had to share a few things with someone who is going through any challenges in life, I would like to say that anything you are going through (whether challenges, pain, insecurities, betrayal, death, hurt, suffering, fear, depression, addiction, harassment, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation, financial crisis, sickness, or separation), any difficult emotions or situations, have already happened to others before you and are still being experiencing by others. We could all heal and grow together. I learned that there is pain everywhere, everyone is fighting their own battle, we are all the same in some ways, and we are not alone. I learned it the hard way because I was very shy and hesitant to even speak up. Please never hesitate to look for resources on campus; you will surely find help. Never forget your strength; you will surely find yourself. If I could do it, trust me at this age, you could do it far better than me! One day at a time. Nobody can break you, not even you, unless you give up. We got this! You got this!

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” (H.H. The Dalai Lama).

“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning how to dance in the rain.” (Vivian Greene)


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