Jolene Nelson is a sophomore majoring in Health and Physical Education from Greenbush, Minnesota. If you have no idea where that is, that’s okay. Jolene stated, “It’s a super small town with a population 719, 20 minutes from the border of Canada. Everyone is republican and white. You don’t want to live there if you’re a person of color.”
Jolene is involved in CLASA and Latino Wellness on campus and is passionate about being a very vocal democrat. She stated, “I am also very passionate about Planned Parenthood and making people understand the benefits of it, as well as take the time to educate themselves on why they need to get routine STI checks! I am also passionate about educating people on Native American heritages and customs. I grew up so close to reservations and many of my friends are Native American. I think it is important to educate people on what life looks like on reservations so they can fully understand the benefits instead of ignorantly assuming only negatives exist.”
In her spare time, she is either working, sleeping, catching up on Gossip Girl or occasionally playing volleyball.
After college Jolene plans to do a year student teaching in Europe, Australia, or Spain and then, “Accept a job from whatever school hires me. I will go wherever life takes me to teach.”
Jolene found the adjustment to college in a big city challenging mostly due to, as she says, “the wet noodle smell in Mankato, and not having home cooked meals anymore.”
Freshman year, Jolene stayed in the dorms in Crawford and Preska. She stated, “It was a great experience because you’re so close to everything on campus so it’s easier to get up and go to the library, Otto Rec or Chet’s. Also living in the residence communities is great, because you’re surrounded by a lot more people, which is nice if you’re a social person like me.”
Jolene has since moved off campus and said, “All I really do is go to class, go to work, and go home. I don’t spend as much time doing a lot of the things I did freshman year anymore, but it’s super expensive living on campus and way cheaper living off campus.”
Before starting college, she wishes that someone had told her, “not to trust every friend you make. People are sneaky, don’t be naive and trust everyone you meet because that’s how you get into bad situations.”
If Jolene could go back in time and stop herself from doing something, she said, “Honestly, I would do nothing, because without those experiences I wouldn’t be where I am right now. If I absolutely had to choose I’d probably tell myself to not take the depo birth control shot (it messes with your body really bad) and to stop drinking milk sooner.”
Feature photo courtesy of Jolene Nelson.