Indiana Daily Student

What minority students should know as freshmen

A panel of students from La Casa Latino Cultural Center spoke Wednesday evening in the Read Hoosier Den about their experiences as freshmen minority students. They discussed topics varying from academics to dealing with diversity. 

Academic Struggles

Getting good grades was a priority for the panelists, but some of them said keeping up those grades was harder than they expected. 

When Groups ScholarAlondra Galvan was struggling with a class, she went to ask for help from her professor. 

At office hours, the professor told her she would never get an A in the class. She didn’t get an A in the class, but did get an A on one of the papers, and she considered that a victory, she said.

“Now when a professor asks me why I want an A, I can tell them why,” Galvan said. “I want to succeed and do well, and I will work hard to make that happen.”

Manny Cantu said the academic support centers were a resources he used almost every night. Academic support centers are located in culture centers, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural affairs, and Briscoe, Forest and Teter Quad. 

Selena Drake said she struggled the most with time management.

“One thing we all have in common is that we all get 24 hours a day,” Drake said. “That really gets me going. How much work you give and what you do with that time sets you apart.” 

Valuable Resources at IU

All seven panelist agreed that professors are one of the most valuable resources for networking and support.

“The farther you get in college, you’ll need letters of recommendation, and professors are great for those,” Cantu said. “So make those relationships.”

Galvan said one of the resources she has found most valuable is Student Legal Services. She had just recently discovered it after problems surfaced in her lease for off-campus housing.

“Before you sign a lease, take it to Student Legal Services, and they will look it over,” Galvan said. “It’s free and confidential.”

Negative experiences 

For some minority students, returning home and seeing friends from high school can present a different challenge. 

Galvan said she would occasionally get weird looks or be confronted by old friends who accused her of being stuck up for going to college. 

Liz Ferrufino said she had a positive outlooks toward negative comments. 

“You are breaking your bubble,” Ferrufino said. “You’re intellectually growing.”

For Galvan and other Hispanic students, the 2016 election and President Trump’s victory led to uncomfortable experiences on campus in addition to the ones they experienced at home. 

Galvan walked into class and had a classmate tell Galvan that she wouldn’t be in class much longer. Trump had often said on campaigns that he would deport all the Hispanics.  Galvan was upset but reported the classmate to the University, she said. 

Even before the election, Hispanic students occasionally struggled to feel at home, Leslie Sanchez said. 

When Sanchez was living in the dorms, she would talk to her mom on the phone in Spanish, and floor members would tell her to stop speaking in Spanish because everyone else on the floor spoke English, Sanchez said. 

Sanchez said she combats negative experiences by jumping into conversations when she overhears students talking about immigration or the appeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy or immigration. 

“If I can change one person's mind, it makes me feel better,” Sanchez said. 

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