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BSC provides bridge for Bullhead

Schea BullheadSchea Bullhead knows that the best way to get where he’s going is to find a route where the transitions from small to big, and then to bigger still, aren’t overwhelming. Bismarck State College fit the bill for him.

Bullhead is from Fort Yates, N.D., on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He graduated from Standing Rock High School with about 40 others in 2016. One of the top three students in his class, he knew he wanted to leave home for college, but also knew that for him, college success was dependent on a move that wouldn’t be too large or too jarring.

He chose BSC, 68 miles to the north, and moved into Werner Hall. He liked his classes, got along with his roommate, and became a Mystic Ambassador. He had excellent grades and was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an honor society. It was the perfect balance – he’d moved out of his comfort zone without moving too far from home.

His professors were pleased. Joe Ellefson, a criminal justice professor, remembers Bullhead as a determined student, quiet but always prepared. Computer Science instructor Deb Mantz calls him “conscientious” and cited his tendency to help others in class.

Bullhead says he definitely improved his people skills that first year – a goal he’d set. Both in PTK and as a Mystic Ambassador, he says he had to talk. “It gave me an outlet to improve how I relate to people.”

Things were going well, but then, the summer before his sophomore year, Bullhead had a severe anxiety attack. He’d experienced minor anxiety in the past, but this time the effects stayed with him.

He returned to BSC, but struggled. He turned to a counselor at the Mystic Advising and Counseling Center, and an outside counselor as well. Together they decided he needed time to heal. He didn’t want to lose his scholarships or derail his academic goals, so he withdrew from school and went home.

Upon his return to BSC in the Spring of 2018, he worried about losing ground and failing to graduate. Because he was familiar with the resources available to him on campus, and knew he’d find the support he needed to succeed, he enrolled in 20 credits in order to stay on track.  

“I knew I could do it. I wanted to earn my degree and I didn’t want to mess up what I had in mind for myself. After the third week, I was back to where I was before my anxiety attack.”

He graduated in the spring of 2018 with an associate in arts degree, and today, Bullhead is a junior at NDSU majoring in psychology. He’s a DJ at the campus radio station and joined the Native American Club. He lives near campus, and he’s getting close to deciding on a career path. He’d like to return to Standing Rock someday and “help my people the best way I can. Maybe [I’ll] be a psychologist at the high school. … and help others get to college.”

But, he isn’t going home yet. He really likes Fargo (despite the wind he says), he’s got his anxiety under control, and, after all that conscious effort to spread his wings, Bullhead would like to walk a bit farther down the path he’s on. “I want to experience life away from home a little longer. First that.”

The Benefits of BSC (According to Schea)

Small class sizes
”I really valued 1:1 time with instructors at BSC as opposed to a bigger college. The only con was that if I missed class, they knew! It made me HAVE to go to any class.” He said the pros far outweighed that con. “If I needed extra help, I sent an email. I could ask a question unrelated to our topic, too. I could talk to them.”

The instructors
Deb Mantz for computers; Karen Bauer in Mass Communications, Joe Ellefson in Criminal Justice and Perry Hornbacher in History all received kudos from Bullhead.

Credits transferred easily
Bullhead had always been told his credits would transfer to NDSU, and they did. He was able to enroll as a junior at NDSU.

BSC is affordable
Bullhead received scholarships from the BSC Foundation and elsewhere. “Coming from Standing Rock and speaking as someone from a rural area, I know not everyone can pay for college. At end of the day, a college education is something everyone should get to achieve. I don’t know why anyone would cut higher ed funding.”