Words of Wisdom from Elsa Armstrong and Onaleece Colegrove

Shared in the May 26, 2020 NAP Weekly Newsletter

Contributed by Onaleece Colegrove '20, NAD Co-President

Before coming to Dartmouth I was set on working in the health field; I was determined to be a doctor working in Indian country. At the time, I thought being a doctor was the only path where I could genuinely help my community and Native people alike. I was wrong and I'm glad that I was wrong. I like learning and I think the field of STEM is still interesting, but it's not for me and that's okay. One of the things I'm thankful for during my time at Dartmouth was finding Native American Studies. I was hesitant to declare Native American Studies as my main and only major purely because all of the discourse I was exposed to before going to college. NAS was a field of study I found to be meaningful and relevant to my life. It was the only subject at Dartmouth I think I truly understood at a deep level. I now know there are endless ways to meaningfully contribute and advocate for Indian Country. Even if you are not as passionate as I am about being an advocate for Indian Country, I hope you explore opportunities and find something you actually enjoy doing. Define what success looks like for you. Be thankful and recognize your growth. I don't think 11-year-old me could have ever imagined where I would be at 21, but 11-year-old me is proud. Take advantage of opportunities, be daring, explore, learn, and strive to make younger you proud.

 

Shared in the May 26th NAP Weekly Newsletter

Contributed by Elsa Armstrong '20, NAD Co-President

Boozhoo my NAD family! First off, I just want to say that I miss you all so much. I'm so sad that our time together on campus got cut short. This community was the most important part of my life at Dartmouth these past four years, and I really wish we all got the chance for more closure. My frustration and sadness with this whole situation comes and goes in waves. But I have been trying hard to focus on the things I am grateful for, and when I think about what "wisdom" I'd like to share it, it has to do with that.

I am not very good at articulating and recording down my feelings with the changes COVID has brought to our lives. I am not much of a journal keeper and I tend to try to focus on the bright side so much and act like everything is okay that I don't always process what I'm really feeling. These past few months, I have struggled to concentrate on classes more than ever before. At times I have felt so foggy and distracted that I lost focus of the things that add happiness and value to my life. It took me a little while to acknowledge that I was struggling, but once I did it was a relief. Instead of getting weighed down with stress and anxiety about the difficulties going on right now, I decided it's best to use this time to focus on me and make a conscious effort to spend time doing things that fill me up, especially things I am not able to do at Dartmouth. I have been beading every day, going for walks with my mom, taking an online Ojibwe language class, cooking and baking, talking with my grandparents, watching new movies and tv, and trying to spend time every day to connect with my home lands. Doing these things has been helping so much with my well-being and overall health. At first, I felt like it was selfish to focus so much on myself during a global pandemic where people are struggling in many ways. But an important teaching I have gathered from people I really look up to in life is that healthy communities start with healthy individuals. It's not selfish to care for yourself, and it actually makes you a stronger person and community member. I hope that you all are able to find time to do the things that make you feel happy, grateful, fulfilled, and connected with your identity within each day. Sending lots of love and well wishes!