Coming into my first-year at Trinity, I’ll admit, I was profoundly lost. Unlike most of my peers, I was coming from a small private day school in Maine. Only one of my high school classmates was attending Trinity with me. I was not on a sports team, nor did any of my siblings attend Trinity currently or previously. In fact, I was an only child living away from home for the first time. I was both scared and apprehensive, worrying about how I’d adjust to the collegiate lifestyle, and concerned that I wouldn’t make friends easily, or have a “group” on campus. Most importantly, I saw college as a “fresh start” where I didn’t have to be the same person who I was in high school, and that new opportunity meant the world to me.
Despite the fact that there were three alumni from my high school attending Trinity, I still felt as if I had little guidance within my first semester of my first year. I had no teammates, no fellow club members, and no co-workers to provide me with advice. I desperately wanted an upper-year “mentor,” or someone to take me under their Bantam wing for recommendations on how to approach my Trinity experience. I found myself wishing that I had signed up for a pre-orientation program, or the “Big Sister, Little Sister” program, in order to find older individuals to connect with. Even though my First-Year Seminar provided me with not one, but two mentors, I felt somewhat intimidated by these individuals, and I saw them more as TAs than mentors.
Given my freshman experience, and my somewhat “bumpy” transition between high school and college, I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone else feel the same way that I had. Regardless of the fact that I did not have a real “mentor” my freshman year, I still maintained faith in Trinity, and I knew that the school would give me the opportunity to give back in a manner that I wished I had originally received.
My sophomore year, I signed up to become a mentor in the “Big Sister, Little Sister” program, a facet of the Trinity community run by the Women and Gender Resource Action Center that pairs upper-year females up with first-year females. Although some students don’t take it too seriously, only meeting their “little sisters” once at the beginning of the school year, I wasn’t going to treat the responsibility lightly. Not only did I meet up with my “little sisters” frequently, going to dinner with them, taking them off campus, helping them with their school work, and texting them in order to check in, but I became very close friends with these two individuals. This experience eventually helped me while becoming a First-Year Mentor.
Throughout my First-Year Mentor experience, I have met with my mentees frequently, creating a group chat where they can all voice their concerns regarding everything from “how do I approach editing my paper before turning it in?” to “where’s the best place to order pizza late night?” I’ve hosted “office hours” that have transitioned from “Can you read this over for me and tell me if I’m headed in the right direction?” to “Is it possible to maintain a long-distance relationship while at college?” Watching their questions turn from practical to personal has made me re-realize the importance of what it means to be a First-Year Mentor. Through this past month, I have become more than just their academic liaison, but rather, a friend who will help them with their transition into the Trinity community. Watching them warm up to me has made me hopeful that they see me as someone whom they can rely on within Trinity’s campus when times get tough. (PS: If you are a first-year student, don’t be afraid to reach out to your First-Year mentor(s)! They’re here to help you with any struggle that you may have!)
Even though Trinity has fantastic resources, beautiful aesthetics, and paramount academics, my First-Year mentorship has helped me to realize that the people within this community truly make it an amazing institution. I cannot thank the people whom I have met here enough, not only for providing me with constant opportunities to expand my skills (whether it’s through writing, public speaking, networking, or leadership opportunities), but most importantly, for helping me to learn more about myself. Thanks to the support that Trinity has provided for me, I know that I will enter “the real world” with confidence, and at the end of each day, I will always be a “bant.”