Student Stories: Meet Shelby Dan

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

 I’m from Lil’wat nation is just north of Whistler and I’m currently a first year NITEP student.


What is your favourite study snack?

My favourite study snack is Goldfish, just because Alexis, Naomi and Natalie and all of them keep the snack area stocked up with Goldfish and Oreos.


What study place do you enjoy most on campus?

I study mostly here at NITEP because it’s such a quiet place, but I can get a lot done here.


Do you have some favourite educational topic or favourite class that you especially love or made an impression on you?

I mainly liked the English class because I’m a writer and enjoy writing and doing that sort of thing.


What kinds of extracurricular activities do you participate in?

I don’t really do too much extracurricular activities. The main thing, though, is the Wellness days that NITEP upholds with the two wellness peers, so I come and enjoy some time with people, my cohort, and just doing fun activities.


How would you describe your NITEP experience so far?

I really enjoyed the NITEP experience. It’s welcoming and community with all the staff, and everyone is like family, you can trust everyone, and no one’s judging or mean. Everyone is so nice and It’s like a family.


What kind of learning curve have you encountered, and how did you overcome it?

The learning curve for me would be … it’s hard to fully concentrate on things for me, but once I get into it, that’s when I can fully learn. Once I’m focused, I’m fine, it’s just getting into the studies.


In the beginning, why did you choose your major? How did you decide to follow this educator path?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. And I wasn’t quite sure what program I wanted to be in or how I  would pursue my education after high school. But Alexis actually came to my school and had a booth set up to talk all about NITEP, and when I showed up at the booth,  I was like, “this is the program I want to be in, which has everything… like it’s Indigenous based,” and I knew I wanted to be in the program.


What professional goals have you set for yourself?

I wanna be an English teacher one day at the high school level. I wanna go back to my home community and teach there, and that is something that I want, and I’m working towards.


Why is Indigenous education important to you?

It’s important to me because growing up, I didn’t really have too many Indigenous teachers in the schools, and then when I got to high school, there is more support for Indigenous students with Indigenous staff members, and that’s what I enjoyed most. I got to connect with people who knew my culture and knew what it was like to be Indigenous, [including the] struggles that we faced…those certain things. So, I want to be that support for my future students.


What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to the new student?

I would definitely say just focus on your work, but don’t forget to have fun!


Can you tell us about a hard moment that you had in university?

The hard moment for me is definitely moving away from home and being separated from my family because I’ve never really left my community to live elsewhere, having grown up in the same household and have never moved until I came here. [If a new student encounters the same thing as me], I would say that definitely get out there, Don’t stay in your room, and just talk to people!


Do you have any other point for students to remember that might help them to learn more efficiently?

Definitely write out what you have to do and create a checklist of all these assignments or discussions or anything that you have to do for your classes. And write them out and then do them in the order that they do the newest assignment will obviously be due later on, or just do them by the due date as well, so you prioritize them. Let’s do next and then cross them all off as you go on.