After Elsie dropped out of UNO, she worked at the World Herald for a while, was a public relations person for the Indian Commission, and then got an internship at KFAB Radio. She worked in the newsroom before getting an early morning broadcast spot. 4:00 a.m. was very hard to get up for after a night of drinking. She ruefully describes the outcome:
So, I ruined that too. I knew I was in trouble, so I didn’t go back. Maybe they would have worked it out. You know, I wish they would have. I think if somebody would have talked to me about my drinking . . . I never received any help or didn’t even think about it being a problem. I didn’t even blame that as being the problem for missing class. It was normal for me. I guess I thought, well, I’ll just have to let it go. (Clark Nov. 2010)
The difference between Elsie and so many other Native students who get to college but don’t make it is that she added, “But I don’t know what inspired me to go back” (Clark).
Elsie went back to UNO sometime in the ‘80s, and then again in 2007. In between, “I picked up courses here and there from the community college” (Clark Nov. 2010). After Elsie’s dad died in 2005 and she had no responsibilities keeping her home, her son encouraged her to go back to UNO. She drove the one and a half hours each way from the reservation three times a week.
So much had changed by 2007—the use of computers, the buildings, the student center, and the amount of ethnic diversity in the student population. Elsie found the computer skills she needed challenging, but “those young kids were really helpful,” and her advisor found her a tutor: “If it wasn’t for her, I would have had a hard time” (Clark). That December, gas prices became prohibitive—it cost $70 to fill her tank,