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Fresh Cut: An unexpected but welcomed homecoming

It’s been nearly 10 years since I walked out of Pequot Lakes High School (PLHS) as a graduate, never to return — or so I thought.

I counted the days that remained before I would move to Minneapolis to begin college and the rest of my life. As a lifelong Crosslake resident, the thought of leaving my tiny hometown for the big city filled me with sheer excitement, the possibilities seemingly endless. As much as I loved the lakes area and the people who shaped me here, I was ready to experience life in a new way and in a new place.

If you would have asked 17-year-old Chelsey what she’d be doing in 10 years, she would have told you she’d be a journalist. But if you would have asked her where, back home wouldn’t have made the list.

Just two months ago, as I worked two jobs serving at a gastropub and a comedy club, 17-year-old Chelsey would have been woefully incorrect with her prediction. While I mostly loved working as a server, my longing to return to the field in which my passion truly lies weighed heavily upon me. Most unexpectedly, my longing to return to my rural roots had crept its way into my consciousness as well.

This is why when I was offered the opportunity to join the Pineandlakes Echo Journal as its new staff writer, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. Through the awesome support of my fiance, Brian, and my family, we managed to pack up our lives in the Twin Cities and move to Brainerd only two weeks after I received the offer. Although stress levels were sky high at times and moving during the coldest, longest winter of recent memory was not exactly ideal, I wouldn’t trade these circumstances for anything.

As a wise friend of mine put it so succinctly, “If you love what you do, it is not labor.”

I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted with a piece of my past, which is now part of my future. My heart belongs to the written word, but it also belongs to the lake country, and I count myself as very fortunate to be here in this moment.

My goal is to bring our community the news that matters most to us, as fairly and as accurately as possible. I hope to meet and exceed your expectations as readers, to keep you engaged, informed and learning new things. Don’t be strangers; we as journalists cannot do this job effectively without feedback, be it positive or negative.

And for those of you who are wondering, former staff writer Kate Perkins and I share more than a last name. We are also second cousins. I recognize the tremendous impact Kate’s had in this community in her short time here, and I can only hope I can fill her shoes.

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
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