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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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

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You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.

You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just 3 years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything— that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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15 Ways To Make This Semester Yours

You want to start off on the right foot.

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Starting off a new semester can be challenging. Trying to find all your classes, meeting new professors, getting your textbooks and just adjusting. Here are some hacks to help you have a great semester.

1. Color Coordination Is Key

Give each class a color. History is blue, math is red, English is green, etc. This way anytime you write an assignment in your planner you have an assigned color to that class and know that if you see a test written in red you have a math test on Thursday. Also, whether you like folder, binder or journals have each class have that color in whatever you want to use. For me, I have a journal for every class. So, when I look in my backpack at 7 a.m. getting ready for class and I'm half asleep when I see a blue journal I know that I am ready for my history class that day.

2. Unique Note Taking

If you're the type of person that likes taking notes on the computer try a different font every now and then. Studies show that when your notes are unique you are more likely to remember them. Try different colors, different sizes, different fonts! The more unique the more information you'll store.

3. Plan it out

At the end of syllabus week, make sure you take 30mins to write down everything in the syllabus calendar in your own planner. Write down when everything is due, but also write down when you're going to get everything down. For example, if you know you have a paper due on 17th also write down that on the 10th you're going to go to the writing center. Which gives you 7 days before the paper is due to fix any mistakes and not be pulling an all-nighter.

4. All Nighters Will Happen

No matter how hard we try we are always going to end up having at least one all-nighter this semester. If this happens to you try to take at least a 15-30 minute nap before your test or class to make sure your body resets itself to ensure you have a good day.

5. Study Time

Your brain will retain more information if you study first thing in the morning versus last minute before bed. If you're cramming for an exam it helps to get a good night sleep and wake up in the morning to cram rather than stay up all night studying. When your brain is already tired from the day you won't retain any of the information you are studying no matter how much caffeine you have.

6. Having Fun On A Budget

Keep track of your spending by creating a budget spreadsheet. This way you can spend money, but also save. Give yourself a certain amount of money to spend each week that way you're not over-spending.

7. Writing Papers

When you finish writing a paper copy and paste it into either Google Translate or Grammarly. Google Translate will read your paper back to you that way you can hear your mistakes and fix them. Grammarly will read over your paper and help you fix grammar mistakes.

8. Can't Focus During Class?

Take your phone and put it up against your laptop to record the lecture. This way you aren't using your phone during class and if you miss something the professor says you can go back and listen to the class. This will not only help you focus during class and it will help you study more.

9. Trying To Charge Your Phone

I'm the type of person that likes my phone right next to me when I sleep. However, when you have a short charger and an outlet across the room its hard to charge your phone at night. Use a command strip to put a power strip up against your bed. That way, you can charge things without needing a bedside table.

10. Mathway is the way

Mathway allows you to insert math problems and it automatically gives you the answer with step by step explanations. It helps your math homework go by so much faster.

11. Stage Fright

When giving a speech change the text color every four lines so it is easier to keep your place when reading and delivering your speech.

12. Lean on your friends

Make friends in your classes the first. That way you can have a group of people you already know when it comes times for study groups or group presentations. It also helps to have friends when you give your own presentations they can ask you questions that you already know to help boost your grade.

13. Ramen Is Bad For You

Invest in a pasta cooker. DASH has a really good one for only $20. That way you can cook all different types of pasta and add meat or cheese, even cook rice. You can be healthy but on a budget.

14. Grape Juice

If you like Concord grape juice, you're in luck — Some evidence shows drinking grape juice can help you process new information and enhance your memory better.

15. Need More Sleep 

This semester, start it off right by having a good sleep schedule. Sleeping on your right side helps you fall asleep faster than sleeping on your left side helping you get more sleep faster.

Good luck and have a great semester!

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