DePaul's Social Justice Mentor Program Kicks Off For Another Successful Year

DePaul's Social Justice Mentor Program Kicks Off For Another Successful Year

Mentors invite students to be part of a program that prepares them for success.

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After spending endless hours training for the job as a STARS peer mentor during spring quarter at DePaul, I now started my role as a mentor. Some may be asking what does STARS peer mentor program stand for and what is it?

The program STARS stands for "students together are reaching success." This program is meant to serve those who are among the marginalized. The STARS program is housed under the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS). Incoming freshmen and transfer students who identify as one or more of the following are invited to participate in the program: first-generation college students, a family of low income, a student of color, or a student who identifies themselves as part of the LGTBQ community.

During the fall and winter quarter, the students who commit to the program meet biweekly with their group of students and the mentor to discuss how each student is adjusting and serve as a resource. The program also has group outings with their groups.

The admissions office gives the OMSS a list of students who have one symptom of marginalization. Once the list is sent, OMSS arranges a list of students contact information and gives it to the mentor. It's up to the mentor to contact their students about the STARS program and invite them to the STARS kickoff night.

The kickoff night allows each student invited to the program a chance to meet their assigned mentor and other students part of the program. Students also decide whether they want to commit to the program or if they choose not to. The kickoff night happened on September 4, and I had the chance to meet the students I contacted about the program.

I'm excited I got to meet the students who were interested. Even though some students couldn't commit, it was a nice experience getting to do exciting group activities and getting that sense of teamwork back before the quarter kicked off. (Did I mention there was free food?) As a freshman last year, I was invited to be part of the STARS Peer Mentor Program, but I did not commit to the program which is something I really regret. Although I didn't commit, it's bittersweet that I'm not back and still get a chance to be a part of the program, just as a mentor this time around.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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An Open Letter To My RA

Thank you for not being the absolute worst.

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We've all heard stories of resident assistants, the horror stories of them being the absolute worst. When you move into a dorm room one of your biggest fears is your resident assistant.

Will you get along with them, will you be able to talk to them, will they write you up for the littlest thing? They're all different but somehow, I got lucky with the best resident assistant that Missouri State University has to offer.

My RA has the brightest personality and knows how to make the best of any situation. She knew how to click with all of us the day that we moved in and made us all feel so welcomed and at home. Almost immediately after we had moved in, she was putting us all into a group chat and creating group events for all thirty-some girls, and I am forever thankful for that.

My RA was a rock to me and always stuck by my side when I needed her most despite what happened to be going on in her life at the time. She knew how to calm me down, how to keep my secrets, and how to laugh with me when I needed it most. She helped all of us create this bond that I feel wouldn't be there if it wasn't for her. She created group dinners and craft nights, movie nights and study nights, and so much more.

I was scared when I moved to college that I was going to have an RA that wouldn't really care about the experience that I have my first year. I've met many people that rarely have interactions with their RA unless they're required to attend a floor meeting. They don't feel they have someone to talk to, and the only person they really know on their floor is their roommate.

I got lucky with an RA that has a genuine passion and concern for us and for what she is there for, and if we don't feel safe and okay then she feels like she isn't doing her job right.

I have so much to thank her for that I'm not really sure where to start. I want to thank her for never really getting upset and always being reasonable with us no matter what the situation was. I want to thank her for including us on details in her life and gossiping with us even when she doesn't have to. Not only that but listening and being involved in our own drama and gossip.

I want to thank her for all of the hour or so talks whether it was crying or laughing, and reassuring us the most when we think we're going through something alone. I want to thank her for all of the dinner dates. All of the movie, song, tv show, local restaurants, attractions, and all the other suggestions she's made to us.

I want to thank her for the Women Empowerment Wednesday's when we all need it the most. I want to thank her for all of the cookie and buff dip pick-me-ups, and the shoutouts that we deserve on our birthdays.

My RA has shown me what it is like for someone to go above and beyond when honestly, they don't need to at all. My RA has inspired me in more ways than she'll ever know and has made me comfortable to do things I never imagined myself doing.

Not only this, but she has inspired me to be an RA in the future, to help all on-campus students strive to do and be the best they can even when it feels impossible. So, to the best RA that Missouri State University has to offer, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. #FreddyHouseBestHouse #FYBForever

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