Student Q & A: Emily Tessmer


Photo courtesy: Emily Tessmer

SNC Junior Emily Tessmer poses with her son

Emily Tessmer, a new mother and Tahoe local for over 10 years, has decided to embark on a new journey to complete her education at Sierra Nevada College. After transferring in as junior, Emily is excited to dive into her major, new media journalism, and apply herself, motivated to complete her degree now more than ever.

Photo courtesy: Emily Tessmer
SNC Junior Emily Tessmer poses with her son

Tell me about where you are from.

I was born in the “UP” [Upper Peninsula] of Michigan. When I was a 1-year-old my dad moved the whole family out to San Diego to a little town called University City when there was nothing there but tumbleweeds.

What was your favorite thing about your hometown?

The Mexican food, the beach, and my family.

Does your family still live in San Diego?

Yes—my mom and dad, and brother and sister, they all still live in San Diego. I am the only one who lives up north.

What brought you from San Diego here to Lake Tahoe?

My family used to come here once every summer growing up. I remember as a kid when we would come here crossing in between Truckee and Tahoe City, and the energy would change for me internally. It was amazing feeling that way after living in such an urban place. The natural world became much more prevalent than concrete and people. That really spoke to me.

What motivated you to pursue your education here at SNC?

I found that the educational environment for me is a place that I thrive. I love learning, I love making connections with people. I’m also a new mom, and having my son come into my life really underscored the importance of education. I really want to value education. That’s one piece of it. The other piece for me is timing. I found that there was another opening—I was offered a scholarship, and I went for it.

What makes your experience at SNC a bit more unique versus other new students here?

I guess that I’m older and have a little bit more life experience. My perspective on learning, that it’s honestly enjoyable for me. I want to take every class that I’m taking here and “extract the nectar” from it so that I can utilize that information some way and apply it with interactions to people out in the real world. Knowledge is power.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun?

I love hiking, dancing, yoga, cooking, and being creative. Any form of creativity is a lot of fun for me.

I know that outside of pursuing a degree here, you are also mother. How is it
balancing motherhood as well as keeping up with schoolwork? 

So far it’s been pretty good! I do put him to bed, sneak downstairs, and pull out a book or watch a video. I’m awake late most nights catching up with school work, but overall so far so good.

Do you think balancing your new child and school is overwhelming at all? 

I feel like it’s worth it because I get so much joy out of learning. It’s a small price to pay to stretch myself a little bit thinner than normal for a long-term achievement.

What are you hoping to achieve after getting your degree here?

Through the medium of journalism, I want to bring more truth out into the world. . Issues like the elderly, our indigenous people, mindfulness in children, etc. For me, journalism is about the truth and it’s SO important today more than ever. It’s important that the thread of truth is out there for everyone to access.

Considering that SNC isn’t a typical four-year college, what do you find that you appreciate most about being here so far?

The class sizes. I love that it’s small. I love that it’s in the most beautiful place in the world, and I really like my
professors so far. I also really like the staff and how helpful they are, and how they really fought to get me here. I really appreciate that.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I hope that I will be living sustainably, somewhere hopefully in the Pacific Northwest, on at least 8-9 acres of land. I want to be growing a huge garden, taking care of many animals, and raising my son to be a whole, integrated human being—while of course maintaining my creativity.