KAYLENE KRUSE: ‘You Can Say Goodbye to a Previous Version of Yourself’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Boasting Exceptional Student Talent, the BEST Board in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge is a 55-foot-long display sponsored by the CSU to recognize eight students each semester for campus student leadership and CSU student staff excellence. This is the first in a series of profiles of the Spring 2020 student leaders.

by JENAE CAREY, CSU Public Relations Intern


Kaylene Kruse is a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato studying Communications Studies and Marketing. Kruse is involved in Student Ambassadors, ESO, Speech and Debate.

Using your own experience, what advice for personal fulfillment and college enrichment would you offer to fellow students?

KAYLENE:Personal fulfillment and college enrichment comes down to getting involved. College has endless opportunities for you to find your passion and your people. One of the best things I could have done for myself was reaching out to someone in an organization about how to join. I’ve met a ton of people along that way that has made me a more successful leader and individual. Everyone is open, encouraging and welcoming to new experiences. Avoid consistent comfort and try out new interests!

We often get asked, “How do I get on the BEST Board?” What do you think helped earn you your BEST Board distinction?

KAYLENE: Connecting with different departments, committees and organizations around campus made a huge impact on my BEST Board distinction. Getting involved can make life busy and challenging at times, but the rewards are endless. Finding your passion and expanding on that will be more visible than simply joining an RSO that is related to your degree, or you think will be impressive on a resume. Drive is the factor that will take you the farthest, for both BEST Board nominations and future careers.

Why did you pick the quote used on the BEST Board?

KAYLENE: “Over the last four years, I have outgrown myself multiple times. People always used to tell me that I would find who I really am in college and I never fully understood what that meant. Now as my journey is coming to an end, it’s critical for me to look back and who I was, thank that person, but leave her behind. I want other people to understand that you can say goodbye to a previous version of yourself. You do not have to be the same person you were in high school. You do not have to be the same person you were in your first semester or even your sixth semester. Continue to grow into the person you want to be, thank yourself for the lessons, and let go of what you thought you once needed.

What involvement or leadership experience at Minnesota State Mankato best defines you, your interests, or your proudest moment? 

KAYLENE:Watching each Student Ambassador progress from their interview to meeting returning Ambassadors, to giving their first tour does not happen in a simple moment, but it is my proudest moment. Helping students find new talents and grow in their connections is priceless. I’m very proud of each Student Ambassador for their leadership, willingness to learn, commitment to the university and individual strengths. Being the President of Student Ambassadors is a leadership experience that has helped define who I am, and practice skills I will carry with me forever.

Where do you hope to take your college education earned at Minnesota State Mankato (what are your career aspirations)?

KAYLENE:The two things I enjoy the most are public speaking (crazy, I know) and environmentalism. If I could have my dream job tomorrow, I would be speaking in front of the crowd, teaching them about the importance of the environment, and connecting with them individually. I hope that my college education takes me to a career I am proud of and have the ability to change the world, even if it is in the smallest way.

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