Our Internal Library: The Importance of Sorting through our Experience

Jun 4, 2024 | Blog, Indigenous Visionaries, Our Programs

Danielle’s family – Brandon, Edwin, Danielle, and Nicole Carley.

Danielle’s family – Brandon, Edwin, Danielle, and Nicole Carley.

Danielle Carley, LCOOU, Associate Dean of Students

2023-2024 Indigenous Visionaries Fellow

Boozhoo, my name is Danielle Carley. I am a wife and mother of two, and soon to be grandmother to my first grandchild. I am a daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, and friend to many. I was born and raised on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in a traditional household. I have five brothers and two sisters but was only raised with one brother. Our father raised us. I am from the New Post community, and I am Bear Clan. Professionally, I am the Associate Dean of Students and Work-Based Learning Program Director for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University located in northern Wisconsin.

I love books. There is something so calm and orderly about reading a book. You can experience things in books that you may never experience in life. Books contain pages of wonder and anguish, much like the experiences of real life. In a way, each of our experiences are like books that contain all of the things we’ve seen, heard, touched, felt, or tasted. Some of our books are beautiful and some are devastating, and all hold lessons for us. We all have libraries within ourselves filled with all of our books of experiences. In my own life I’ve had many experiences that I’ve had to find a way to make sense of. This is likely true for everyone. We want to hold onto the good experiences and forget the bad experiences. Sometimes, we want to sweep the worst under the rug. I’ve tried myself, but that only resulted in tripping over past experiences under a lumpy rug. I realized that all our experiences, good and bad, serve a purpose. It is up to each of us to pick up each book and decide where it belongs within our library.

LCOOU Library with open books: sorting experiences.

Edward Smith and Danielle Carley, Danielle’s father (deceased).

One of my books details the story of how education changes lives. I am living proof of that. I always knew I would earn my bachelor’s degree, but I just didn’t know how long it would take or all the opportunities I would miss without it. I spent too much time waiting for the right time to seek my degree. It took a long time to understand that there will never be a “perfect” time, because life has a funny way of happening when you least expect it. I waited too long to get serious about my education and could not share my achievement with my father. My number one supporter and one of my biggest motivators. I encourage you to start organizing your internal library if you haven’t started already. It’s well worth the work that it takes to revisit those old experiences. Review that book, decide what it means to you, and decide where it belongs in your library.

LCOOU Library with open books: sorting experiences.

LCOOU Library with open books: sorting experiences.

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