Walking the Red Path in Education

americas-promise-education-planA new college semester begins for many of you and I hope you’re very excited. New classes, new beginnings, and new knowledge—embrace every opportunity that crosses your path, it could lead to more amazing ventures. A good friend of mine decided to continue her educational path by transferring to another institution. I know she’s feeling a bit nervous. However I’m not too worried because I know she will do great things once she gets settled. Her endeavor inspired me to give some positive words of encouragement to Native college students as they gear up for classes.

As a former TCU student, I will say this: continue to walk the red path of life and integrate all you’ve learned on that path. We Native American people are still at odds with many problematic issues whether they are contemporary or if they started long ago. To educate your mind is a right you should take, even if it means to learn traditional knowledge from your homeland. The only way to tackle the situations our people face is by strengthening your mind, body, and soul. There will be a time when you want your voice to be heard. Start in the classroom.

College is a time to define who you are and what you want to be. During my time spent at Diné College and Fort Lewis College, I observed and found inspiration in my fellow peers. I feel that each of my classmates always brought a unique characteristic in the hour long lecture and made my learning enjoyable. I have friends who call themselves activists because they are deeply rooted in their culture and show that quality in their work on campus and in the classroom. Don’t be afraid to share your stories; what you know can possibly inspire others to share as well.

Participation is another factor in keeping your college semester pleasant. During my college years I never made enough time for festivities happening on campus. I have friends who are in charge of numerous organizations that have hosted some amazing events, as I wrote before in my first blog about Mariah Gachupin and the Pueblo Alliance. This semester, try and see if you can make time to support or even join a registered organization on campus. It’s never too late to try something new and it can be rewarding in the end.

Take note of tutoring schedules and advisement if any of the classes you’ve registered for seem to get tough at the beginning—especially if you’re taking them for required hours in your specific major.

Most importantly, be a constant learner. Every day we learn something new or we can share new information. College has never been one entity; it takes many individuals to build a community. Be that kindred spirit on your red path and continue to keep on keeping on. You’ve made it this far in your educational journey; don’t let anything stop you from your dreams. Keep believing in yourself and encourage others as well. You’re part of a growing community of scholars; grow and thrive together.

Native college students, I wish you the best this semester.

Shaina Nez is a graduate of Diné College and a blogger at TCJ.

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