Living on Campus
Once you’ve arrived and settled into your dorm room, get to know your resident advisor (RA). The RA can be your best friend so introduce yourself, be polite, and honor the rules and regulations of your dorm. If you have a meal plan, use it. You might be tempted to eat out 24/7 but you may not have the budget for it. It’s fine to treat yourself occasionally but always be aware of your funds and budget accordingly.
Remember, at this stage in your college experience, you are your own responsibility. You must manage your day, week, and month because you hold the reins to your schedule. You’re responsible for waking yourself up, doing your laundry, keeping your dorm room clean, and many other things that you will discover quickly in your first days of dorm life. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you need it.
Get out and socialize with the people in your floor, in your hall, and all over campus! While getting to campus may be an overwhelming experience, finding a group to share these experiences with will help you through it. You are not alone, and you will make many friends who feel the same way as you do.
Did you know?
Some of the friends you make in college become lifelong friends and may become great resources in your professional careers.
Staying Safe on Campus
While violence on campus is rare, you should familiarize yourself with safety practices and protective services that your institution provides. Always be aware of your surroundings and know that you should never feel unsafe on campus.
Did you know?
You can request campus safe-ride or safe-walk services to escort you safely to wherever you need to go.
As a student, you are about to begin a part of your life in a place that may not understand who you are as a Native person. It may be difficult to express your Native identity in a way you are comfortable with but always be confident and never hide who you are. Many institutions may not understand Native cultural practices, but many are beginning to include Native practices in their policies. When arriving on campus, research if your institution has smudging, tobacco-use, or any other cultural practicing policies. Vine Deloria Jr. once said, “Certain sets of circumstances lie ahead of us wherein we change the world by the choices we make.” As you journey through higher education, the choices you make will determine not only your future but the future of your family, your community, and your Tribe.
Getting Involved on Campus
Get to know the financial aid office right away. These offices are very critical to your college success so definitely make time to build a strong relationship with them. Your relationship with these offices can affect your scholarship disbursement, your enrollment/dis-enrollment, transcript holds, housing, and meal plan. Remember, college campuses can be very large and communication between departments can sometimes be difficult to maintain.
There are a lot of resources on college campuses that are designed to support you as you journey through college. See if your institution provides support services for Native American students or multicultural students. Expand your network and get involved with your institution’s office of Student Affairs/Student Life. This is where you’re going to find a lot of your student organizations, multicultural student services, fraternity and sorority life, and volunteer opportunities.
Did you know?
There are currently eight recognized National Native American fraternities and sororities on 26 campuses in the United States.
Other Great Resources & Activities
- Gender equality centers
- LGBTQ+ resource centers
- Student health and counseling centers
- Safe Ride or transportation services
- Career resource centers
- Intramural/club sports
- Academic and Professional seminars
- Career and internship fairs
- University sporting events
- Service, volunteering, activism events
- Theatre and performance events
- Student media
- Faith-based organizations
- Political organizations
Did you know?
Some Native support centers may be able to help you in emergency situations with discretionary funds and services.
Transitioning to college can be an overwhelming experience, and it’s so important to make sure you are taking care of your own mental health.
Know yourself and be honest with yourself. If you’re not doing okay, sometimes it can be hard to admit it, especially when you’re at college. There are a variety of programs and resources dedicated to mental health and wellness, like your campus counseling center or a Native Student Services office.
For a complete list of mental health resources on your college campus, check out ULifeline. This tool allows you to enter your college information and navigate the resources available to you.