Thompson Rivers University

Aboriginal students experience university

  Posted on: November 15, 2016

The panel of current students for the 2016 Aboriginal Transitions Day.

The four current students making up the students panel during Transitions to Post Secondary 2016. Left to right: Violet Manuel, Hailey Booth, Gerald Nukon and Kelsey Jules.

Reflecting on their own journey, four panelists were thrilled to share insight with the visiting Aboriginal high school students from local School District 73.

On campus for the long-running Transitions to Post Secondary event, visitors learned more about what they can study, what campus has to offer and hopefully through both, envision themselves as TRU students. The day is another example of the successful relationship TRU has with the school district and included tours, activities, lunch and discovering what support services are available to Aboriginal students. The day is also part of TRU’s strategy of increasing the academic success of Aboriginal students.

“I hope students realize there’s no such thing as a wasted education (and when things get tough) no matter what, you just have to push forward and gather up all the knowledge you can, while you can,” said Kelsey Jules following the presentation. She is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts and was among the panelists.

“You have to try and make a difference not only for yourself, but for your community and future generations as well. What would I tell my high school self? I can make a difference and I will make a difference,” said Jules, adding that if it wasn’t for university, she wouldn’t have honed her photography skills through using different studio spaces and as a result, landing the opportunity to exhibit some of her pieces in the Vancouver Airport.

Rounding out the panel was Violet Manuel (first year Bachelor of Arts), Hailey Booth (first year Bachelor of Arts) and Gerald Nukon (Level 4 Carpenter).

Gerald Nukon

Nukon was there to talk about the trades as well as say it’s never too late to return to school. A mature student and having worked in carpentry for years, he arrived at the conclusion he needed formalized education if he was going to better his understanding of his profession and improve his opportunities for advancement.

“I used to hear tradesmen talk about certain things and I didn’t really understand what they were talking about, but now I understand and can engage in more conversations,” said Nukon.

“I saw the guys do the calculations and was sure I could have grasped them eventually and learned them on-site, but there’s no time on-site for people to teach you properly, so I figured I should come to school and do the training,” he added.

Violet Manuel

During her presentation, Manuel encouraged visitors to be open minded towards education because even a little bit of learning can open doors that otherwise may be closed.

Hailey Booth

Booth wants to eventually get into the Bachelor of Social Work program and suggested getting involved on campus in a meaningful way. For her, that included getting involved with TRU’s Aboriginal centre, properly known as Cplul’kw’ten and otherwise known as the Gathering Place and House 5.

“There is a lot of support there,” she told the audience, “and they helped me figure out how I could help with Transitions Day, to be here and speak to you today.”

Additional links

Aboriginal resources

Services for Aboriginal students

Aboriginal Mentor Program

Elder in the House Program

Aboriginal Services Team