Valley City, N.D., is a long way from the Philippines.
But once Nichole Dumlao's family made the trip, the distance wasn’t really an issue. Unfamiliar faces and culture made it easy for Nichole to retreat into the shy version of herself.
When the time came for Nichole to pick a university, she knew she was ready for change. She wanted to go somewhere with a diverse community to meet people she wouldn’t otherwise be around.
“There’s so many people here from all over the world,” Nichole said.
But to make the most of the days, simply enrolling would not be enough. Nichole needed to put herself in position to network and foster meaningful connections.
So she joined a couple clubs. Then a couple more. And a couple more after that. All told, she has joined or volunteered with well over a dozen.
Nichole joined the Student Ambassadors and made instant connections. She joined the Honors Program Student Organization and found a community that inspires and pushes her to be her best.
Along with the connections came opportunities. She took leadership positions and helped coordinate events.
Her skill in public speaking also gained steam, which gave her the confidence to co-emcee the Feast of Nations, one of the biggest annual events in Grand Forks with hundreds of attendees.
Being part of all these different communities and meeting all the amazing people is the best part.
Of course, transformations include bumps and friction along the way. Dr. F. Richard Ferraro, one of Nichole’s professors, noticed a change in her and checked to see how she was doing.
Nichole then found the strength to open up to a few professors and establish connections that have been both personally and academically beneficial.
"I am really happy with where I am and who I am so far, and I wouldn’t have those opportunities if I wasn’t in UND."
“The faculty and staff, my friends and mentors, who I found solace during hard times helped me through the way. Whether it be a personal, school, or financial problem, they've supported and lifted me up in more ways than I could imagine.
I could say the same thing about all the other professors at UND, they understand and care about your success.”
Nichole says the key to getting the most out of the college experience is knowing your priorities and being open to new experiences. Her primary goal was always becoming the right person.
“I wanted to be someone that my younger self looks up to – sociable, kind, and smart.” Along the way, she found some of the best growth came through unexpected expexperiences.
"Having an open attitude leads you to more opportunities and makes you walk the shoes you haven’t before because change is always a good thing.”
A nursing student with two years left before graduation, Nichole still has much of her UND experience to look forward to, and more of the best might still be to come. “Being part of all these different communities and meeting all the amazing people is the best part.
Although my chapter with UND is not yet over, I could say that I have had such a fulfilling experience.”
- Philippines/Valley City, N.D.
- Student Organizations:
- 12+ (and counting)