Mentorship job to help the marginalized kicks off

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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I Don't Care How Hard Your Major Is, There Is No Excuse Not To Have A Job While In College

If the name on your credit card does not match the name on your birth certificate, then you really need to re-evaluate your priorities.

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We seem to live in a generation where everyone wants to go to college.

It is nice to see that people want to invest in their education, but at what expense? It's easy to commit to a school, and it is even easier to get yourself and your parents into thousands of dollars of debt because you're "living your best life."

To me, it's pathetic if you're over the age of eighteen and you don't have some sort of income or responsibilities outside of homework and attendance. The old excuse, "I want to focus on school," is no longer valid. You can get all A's while having a job, and that has nothing to do with intelligence, but rather your will to succeed. "I don't have time for a job/internship," translates to, "I'm really lazy,".

You don't need to overextend yourself and work forty hours a week, but you should at least work summers or weekends. Any job is a good job. Whether you babysit, walk dogs, work retail, serve tables or have an internship. You need to do something.

"My major is too hard," is not an excuse either. If you can go out on the weekends, you can work.

The rigor of your major should not determine whether or not you decide to contribute to your education. If the name on your credit card does not match the name on your birth certificate, then you really need to re-evaluate your priorities.

Working hard in school does not compensate for having any sense of responsibility.

I understand that not everyone has the same level of time management skills, but if you truly can't work during the school year, you need to be working over the summer and during your breaks. The money you make should not exclusively be for spending; you should be putting it towards books, loans, or housing.

Internships are important too, paid or not.

In my opinion, if you chose not to work for income, you should be working for experience. Your resume includes your degree, but your degree does not include your resume. Experience is important, and internships provide experience. A person working an unpaid internship deserves the same credit as a student working full/part-time.

Though they are not bringing in income for their education, they are gaining experience, and opening up potential opportunities for themselves.

If you go to college just to go to class and do nothing else, then you don't deserve to be there. College is so much more than just turning in assignments, it is a place for mental and academic growth. You need to contribute to your education, whether it is through working for income or working for knowledge or experience.

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An Open Letter To Upcoming College Freshmen, From A Former College Freshman

What I wish I knew before I started college.

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Dear Upcoming College Freshman,

You most likely just finished high school, and are probably looking back at your childhood with wonder, wondering how it passed by so quickly. You also might be looking at the future ahead of you, feeling fear.

How do I know this? I felt the exact same thing a year ago. I didn't know what to expect from college. There weren't that many movies or TV shows that highlighted what college would be like. So, I was terrified. There are certain things I wished someone would've told me about college. Yet, no one told me these things. I had to discover them for myself. Here is what I discovered:

You don't have to be afraid.

You don't need to be scared. I know college can be intimidating, but I promise, it is going to be such a beautiful experience. I discovered that college is an opportunity to grow into one's true self. In college, you will discover your passions, your tribe, and who you want to be in relation to this world.

Be excited!

Turn your fear into excitement. You are about to enter a new chapter in your life, one with many beautiful surprises. Instead of fearing it because of its uncertainties, feel excitement due to its possibilities.

College won't be perfect.

When I came into college, I had the expectation that everything would be perfect, and that I wouldn't struggle. This expectation wasn't realistic, because college is just like life. There will be ups and downs, and sometimes things won't go your own way. But, even when things don't go your own way, know that everything will be okay. You will discover ways to deal with whatever issues surface.

You will learn how to deal with life.

In college, so many issues will come up that you will need to deal with because part of life is dealing with issues that surface. For example, I remember going into college expecting to feel super close to the people around me. During the first semester of my freshman year, I realized how this wasn't the case. I didn't find my best friends during the first few months of college. I remember going home during Winter Break, and asking myself: "What can I do to change this?"

When I came back during my second semester of college, I reached out to more people, became more involved in clubs, and talked to people I wouldn't normally talk to. These active changes in my life helped me find my best friends and make my college experience more enjoyable. Even though things didn't work out as perfectly in the beginning as I hoped, it taught me valuable lessons on how to make friends. In college, things won't be perfect. But, this will teach you how to develop skills to deal with whatever issues come up in life.

Now, you will be going into a new chapter in life. Don't be scared. You are about to embark on one of the most life-changing journeys you'll ever experience. You are going to grow so much. Don't forget to enjoy the ride.

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