During my first year of college I was fortunate to be involved with the Mentor Program. The Mentor Program matches ALANA first year students with one faculty advisor and peer mentor based on their academic and co curricular interests. With the goal to create a smoother transition to college by providing support and resources to students as needed, the program definitely lived up to its mission in my experience.
Last night I attended the end of the year banquet, and as sad as it was to see many of my upperclassmen peers for the last time, it was also a sweet moment as I had the time to reflect on my time at Holy Cross during my first year. Through the highs and lows of the first year, it made a memorable and impactful year on my life.
For the program, I was matched with two incredible women on this campus. The first being my faculty advisor, Dr. Wolfe-Bellin in the biology department given my interest in environmental science. Although I ended up declaring a major in English (how the world works… but yay for having a major!) she was still very supportive and helpful with advice throughout the year as I came in with different things to discuss regarding school and life.
My second mentor, and who I spent a lot of time with, Mariel Aleman, a senior [graduating as a first generation student soon with a degree in Sociology!] met with me once a week throughout the entire school year to touch base on my involvement on campus and my own well being. Aside from meeting and chatting about my life, through this mentor relationship I gained a new friend and connection on this campus. I think one of the most powerful things about our relationship is that we were paired together so well based on our interests and background. As a first generation woman of color on the hill, Mariel provided me with helpful insight as I navigated my first year with varying obstacles that she always had answers and advice for. When times were rough, I could depend on an encouraging text from her [pictured above]. Beyond our background though, with an everlasting passion for social justice and the wellness of others, we found much common ground as soon as we met. In the end, I not only had a mentor and friend, but someone to look up to.
I am so thankful to have been a part of program that not only guides students to excel to their greatest potential, but also empowers them through the process of it. For that I am grateful, because my first year at Holy Cross would have been so much different without this program. I hope that I one day can make an impact on someones life the way my mentors have– whether that is through the peer mentor program or through other opportunities on campus.