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First Week of College

Zia talks about her favorite class and other highlights of her first week.

Zia talks about her favorite class and other highlights of her first week.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about starting college. It seems like something so adult—pursuing higher education, seeking a degree, leaving home. However, I still feel very much like a kid, and I’m constantly calling other adults that I find more adult to ask them advice about what I’m doing and if I’m doing it correctly. So far, I think I’ve got it handled. (Though I’ve only been here for seven days…) With my new found freedom of being out of New Mexico and having no adult that has complete authority over me, I could be doing a lot worse. I study for my classes and I do my reading. If I keep it up, I might be on the track for graduation.

In order to graduate, I have to take classes and expand my learning — the main reason I’m really at Carleton. I’m interested in majoring in biology; hopefully one day I will be able to help aid my community and other rural tribal communities. Despite my interest in biology, I am not enrolled in a single biology course this term. I’m currently taking The Psychology of Creativity (my A&I Seminar), Spanish 101, Indigenous Activism, and volleyball for my P.E. I have a pretty full schedule, so when I hang out with friends I mostly find myself studying, but I guess for most Carls that’s not uncommon.

My favorite class currently is my Indigenous Activism class taught by the amazing professor Meredith McCoy. I met her on move-in day, and I might have scared her with my enthusiasm because — oh my gosh — she’s from Turtle Lake and I’m not the only Native on campus and she’s teaching an Indigenous Activism class. I was so excited by the prospect of having another Native on campus that I changed my schedule immediately and dropped a class to take hers. Though most of the topics that we discuss in class are things I’ve heard in all my other history classes in high school, her course goes much more into depth. I always thought that since I was raised in Indian Country and I went to an Indian school that I knew what the activism of our people was, but I was completely wrong. There’s so much more to activism. It cannot be assigned a single definition or be demonstrated through a single act. Okay… end of my spiel on Indigenous Activism.

To move on from classes, my adjustment to the social environment is also going pretty well. Again, I can’t lie, I went into slight shock when I first stepped on campus during move-in. I got overwhelmed by the fact that I am no longer at an Indian school and I will indeed have to explain to everyone what my tribe is, where I come from, what’s okay to say/what I’m allowed to talk about, and blah blah blah. I got tired of it really fast. But then I realized that that’s part of living in a diverse environment. Not everyone is going to know an indigenous person or how to approach sensitive topics surrounding indigenous peoples, and that’s totally okay, because I can teach them.

Though this first week in college was better than I could have hoped for, it’ll be a hard adjustment period, and I will definitely hit some lows during this term and the terms following. That’s part of the experience though and having the opportunity to be in college — and to be attending Carleton College — trumps any of the real-life issues that come with being a college student.

Zia is a first-year student from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Though, despite growing up among the 19 Pueblos, her tribe is the Canim Lake Band from British Columbia, Canada. She is interested in studying Biology and, hopefully, giving back to her people while bridging the gap between the medical field and Native communities. Aside from academics, she loves watching re-runs of The Office and Parks and Rec and keeping up with the latest music from Aminé, Brockhampton, Rex Orange County, Omar Apollo, GoldLink, and many more. Meet the other bloggers!

Photo highlights from the week

Friends celebrate planting trees in the arboretum.

Three friends, planting trees in The Arb.

Lucy, the neighborhood dog.

Meeting Lucy, the sweetest neighborhood dog.

Two roommates goofing off.

Late night adventure to rescue my water bottle from the LDC.

Walker, the therapy dog.

Meeting Walter, the cutest therapy dog.

Sidewalk after rainy day.

Walking to LDC.