“small town girl”

written by STUDENT guest contributor: Toni Rasmussen, Albion, Nebraska
Aspiring Rural Enthusiast, majoring in Agricultural Education and minoring in Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Just a small town girl…living in a lonely world…

Most people hear these lyrics and begin singing without thinking of the true meaning of the words. However, I internalize these lyrics in a different way.

Lonely world?
If you look at small towns as ghost towns, absolutely.
But, if you look at small towns as opportunity, absolutely not.

As an elementary student, I never found it odd that most people in town knew who I was because they knew my parents. As a junior high student, if I didn’t behave, my parents would know about it before I got home from school. As a high school student, I learned to answer the question of which Rasmussen I belonged to with the statement, “That depends on which one you like best.” Once I entered college, I soon realized I was on my own. I missed having people know who I was, having people look out for me, and mostly missed the opportunities that were available to me in my community.

Opportunities that include, but most definitely are not limited to:


  • At a younger age
  • Better chance to serve
  • Serve well, serve often


  • Everyone knows everyone
  • Inside and outside of community
  • Discovering resources


  • Work ethic is on display
  • Encourage and discourage, each supporting in its own way
  • Genuinely ask about progress

 “Don’t stop believing…”

…in youth,
…in small communities,
…in rural.

As a college student, I enjoy Lincoln and Omaha and the constant activities that occur. However, I miss the rural lifestyle! I plan to return to a rural community because I know that I will gain valuable experiences by holding leadership positions at a younger age that my counterparts that live in cities will not experience. I will also have opportunities to make and maintain day-to-day connections that will benefit my career and personal life. This has already been demonstrated by those who have supported me thus far in my journey.



Thanks Toni for sharing a student’s perspective!


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