Remember the Power of Stories

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When Emily Samuelson decided to go back to school after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Morris, she was looking for a place that was convenient and had a wide range of opportunities available. “[Minneapolis College] is a place that fit who I was as a non-traditional student. They had a spot for me.”

Samuelson began her journey at Minneapolis College in 2016, pursuing a Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide certificate, but after realizing she had a passion to learn more, she decided to enter the Nursing Program and expand her involvement across campus.

“Joining the Student Nurses Association [SNA] was a requirement as part of our cohort, but being a part of it helped me prepare to change from a nursing student to a nurse,” said Samuelson.

Additionally, Samuelson became involved with the Student Senate and the United Nations of Indian Tribes for Education (U.N.I.T.E.) Club. “I enjoyed meeting other Native students on campus and having a place to celebrate our cultural identity. I also got to go to the Power in Diversity Conference. Having the experience of spending time for a few days, just carving out space to have those conversations and share stories, was priceless.”

Samuelson was raised to value the power of stories. With both Native American and Jewish heritage, it was instilled in her at an early age to value the oral tradition of storytelling, the practice of listening and the power of community.

“To me, community is looking at a group of people at a place in time and thinking about how to build relationships and have goals in a united way, so that everyone can progress together,” said Samuelson. “You have to include everyone, even those who are hard to include. They probably need it the most.”

It was an encounter with Anishinaabe author Jim Northrup at early age on the Fond Du Lac Reservation that also helped Samuelson develop these insights. “He invited us in, and we sat at his kitchen table for hours. He said to me something I’ll never forget: ‘Remember the power of stories.’”

As Samuelson prepares for a full-time career in the health care field, she is adamant that although her Minneapolis College story is coming to an end for now, the lessons she has learned and the people she met will stay with her.

“You meet people from all over the globe [at Minneapolis College] and the best part is you get all of these different perspectives. People have things to teach you,” said Samuelson. “Minneapolis College prepared me well for what’s coming ahead. I don’t know what exactly that is, but I see the way forward.”

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