Hi, I am Charlinda from Navajo reservation. I am a Sociology student. Today I will tell you a story about my socializing efforts and struggle against the culture shock I got after entering American college.
For me, college applications seemed simple, but leaving my Navajo place did not. I have spent my whole life there, and I was extremely nervous about leaving the home, my family and friends for an unknown and strange place with many different people I never met before. Since my childhood, I felt like my family is a shelter for me. Now I was worried about becoming an outsider, so I became one.
During my first week on campus, I felt horrible. College experience became an embodiment of my biggest fears. I was quiet, always kept to myself and did not want to make any friends. I was afraid of other students and tutors, so I really needed support. I remember the evening when I called my mom and started crying. I just missed her so much and wanted to go back home.
How I overcame this
Eventually, I learned about organizations for students created for Native Americans. With the help of people out there, I found tutors, mentors, and Native American students who helped me very much. They gave me a valuable advice and supported me every time I needed their help. After meeting these people, I felt at home. Now I have a second family called the Native American Student
Affairs cultural center, and I am highly thankful to these amazing people.
The new community gave me support, and I gained self-confidence to leave my shell. Now I attend organizations and clubs. I have new friends. I am very outgoing!
I have learned that if you are a representative of a different culture, you should try to balance your culture with the other one and learn more about other people. You should also let them learn more about you, in turn. This is the best way to overcome negative stereotypes from the both sides.
My current college life
Now, when three years have passed, I am doing my best to achieve academic success and help to bring back the Native American sorority. I feel like I am growing each day as an individual and as a representative of my nation. Now I am very proud of my status as a college student!
Being a part of the Native American Student Affairs cultural center, I use my own experience to help other students adapt themselves to a college life and realize their uniqueness. Every college student should aim to achieve his/her dreams without fears to be an outsider in a shell of social fears. I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I meet students who were afraid and anxious when we first met, but are feeling confident at college now.
Often native students don’t feel comfortable at college. I came through these trials myself, and now I am a person who helps the others make it!