This summer, I was like a duck to baby ducklings entering the giant pond that is college! Before this summer, I did not know how much impact I could have in the lives of incoming freshmen. However, as a Summer Bridge Experience Peer Leader for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion – Young Scholars Program (a program which I have been in since 2010), I took in a group of 10 scholars under my wing (three males, seven females). Each of the 12 Peer Leaders had around this number of freshmen to mentor and guide. Our groups are called our families. Since I just completed SBE the previous summer, I still had fresh knowledge of the experience that would enable me to effectively mentor the incoming scholars.
From July 30th through August 18th, 2017, I played a vital role in helping the 118 Young Scholars of OSU’s Class of 2021 participate and thrive in this three-week summer bridge program. This program is mandatory but will be transformational. It can be intimidating since students are in a huge place and they don’t know their way around. After the three-week summer bridge program, they WILL be able to navigate campus without much problem. The overview of the Summer Bridge Experience includes college success seminars (college success, professional development, and scholarship services). In these seminars, students discuss diversity, campus climate and social integration. Furthermore, they work through figuring out their career goals and how to prepare for them. They learn to interpret their financial aid and about financial wellness. Their academic core classes include an English, math or statistics, and an elective of either chemistry, physics, economics, or psychology. These classes will help prepare them for the challenge of a four-year college institution. Lastly, there’s time allotted to do rec sports and wellness workshops!
The 12 Peer Leaders serving during Bridge were all rising sophomores, while one was a rising junior. After applying and interviewing for the role, we were chosen because the YSP staff believed that each of us had something unique to contribute to Bridge. We have knowledge about OSU and college life, and want to help younger cohorts be successful in college. For the first week of Bridge, we physically lead them to their classes and other locations. Then they can get to their classes themselves for the most part. We’re still available to guide, if needed. But there’s so much more than that. We help with any issues they’re having; they may be feeling homesick, or overwhelmed because they slowly realize that they will indeed be college students, and that high-school level attitudes and work ethics do not cut it here at OSU. The Peer Leaders are a resource for these students. We offer advice and also listen to them and work with them to make sure they can make the most of their first year of college. The months leading up to Summer Bridge, my excitement for them increased!
Wednesday, 7/26 – We checked into Siebert Hall where we’ll stay for a few days. Training is at Hale Hall, across the street. We received our Peer Leader Training Manuals! We reviewed the Young Scholars Program (YSP) policies and procedures. We discussed pre-college student success services as well as the undergraduate student success services such as the success coaches, academic success partners, and freshman seminars. We did an activity where we were divided into two groups and one group drew what a good Peer Leader looked and acted like, and the other group drew what a bad one would resemble. Finally, we reviewed Chapter One of Students Helping Students: Peer Educators on the College Campus.
Thursday, 7/27 –
We did Conflict Resolution role-plays; scenarios are based off of true incidents that have occurred in YSP. I paired up with my outgoing friend Anthony and he played the role of a student whose grandmother just died and he wanted to go home and never return to OSU. I was the Peer Leader and my peers and supervisors informed me that I acted well!! I went close to Anthony and asked if he was alright. I talked with him through his decision to leave college. Although the death was a sad loss since his grandma was close to him, I reminded the student that he should go to college for his grandma and make her proud. I also asked if he’d be comfortable talking with the Bridge coordinators about this, so we could come up with solutions and not have him miss out on college and his YSP scholarship. This fictional scenario felt real when I stepped into my role.
We learned about Leadership Dichotomies: Practical Leadership Approaches, presented by Kris Y. Coleman, J.D., MBA and Program Director of The Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Post-Baccalaureate Preparation Program (which is also called Tri-P). Different situations require different leadership approaches, and authenticity is the crucial element in leadership. Ms. Coleman claims that there are 12 different dichotomous tools to use:
1. Control and/or Empower
2. Respect and/or Fear
3. Advocate and/or Enable
4. Astute and/or Obtuse
5. Decisive and/or Collaborative
6. Introvert and/or Extrovert
7. Morality and/or Integrity
8. Judge and/or Ascertain
9. Condescend and/or Relate
10. Platitude and/or Praise
11. Body language and/or Verbal language
12. Sympathy and/or Empathy
I feel that my leadership style involves being introverted, empowering, and respectful. I won’t be the first to speak in the room, but I am still a warm, motivating presence to others. I’m there for others and never have an attitude. I listen while not being judging, but trying to step into the person’s shoes to fully assess the situation along with them.
We discussed Chapter Four of Students Helping Students, which is focused on Interpersonal Communication Skills and creating the helping interaction. It’s easy to give advice to others; however, that’s directed interaction and it’s talking to the other individual, whereas in interpersonal communication, interaction is collaborative and you’d be talking with the person. After practicing icebreakers, we went to RPAC (rec center) to learn how to give tours to our own students! Then we designed and created door decorations for the students in our families! I printed and cut out Harry Potter house crest signs for my group! Other Peer Leaders had Pac Mans, cameras, keys, puzzle pieces, Lego pieces, and more.
Saturday, 7/29, we had the day off to rest and prepare for the gigantic class. The Peer Leaders moved to Lawrence Tower. I was assigned to Group 1 (out of a possible four groups) for the workshops in the morning. I would just need to take attendance of the students there. Additionally, the PLs were divided evenly into taking attendance at the Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Psychology classes; in other words, three PLs per class. I was placed into Economics. I have never taken economics during high school or college, so this will be interesting. I may actually pay attention in the class as well, to further my knowledge and see if I can help the students too!
WEEK ONE OF SUMMER BRIDGE EXPERIENCE
Sunday, 7/30 – Move In Day!
The 12 of us, along with the YSP staff, gathered around 8 am to set up the environment for the Scholars. Debbie and I chose to be stationed outside to direct traffic and the Young Scholars the right way to get their belongings unloaded, then the car parked in a lot across the street. She was on one corner and I was down on another. Young Scholars were told to display an orange sheet of paper with the YSP logo on it on the car’s dashboard, so that’s what we were trying to look for when eyeing the sea of vehicles that continuously whizzed by us. While move-in wasn’t scheduled until 9 am, we had some early birds by the time we were down in Lawrence’s lobby preparing. Later, another PL Anthony came to help Debbie and I, since Lawrence Tower has several apartments around it and some people were confused which building it was. What made the time go by was Debbie dancing as she was standing on the sidewalk and pointing the directions to go. She got happy honks from drivers. I cannot dance, so I swung my arms around. The other PLs helped unload belongings into red carts, wheel them into the Scholars’ rooms, unload the things, and bring the carts down. It was a strenuous three or four hours but nearly all the Scholars made it within the time frame! At one point, around 11 am, many flooded in, and we had a line of cars/vans in a procession waiting to be unloaded. The line stretched for a block and more! What made it more challenging was that we had another Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) summer program which had participants coming in at the same time that the Young Scholars were!! A pedestrian walking past even asked what was happening. It made me fatigued; I am thankful a supervisor came to give us water! (Also my brother is one of the Young Scholars in Summer Bridge this year, and I could recognize our dad’s SUV from far away!)
Students checked in and received their room key, and YSP provided them with three meal passes (totaling $30) and all-day parking passes. They had time before our Summer Bridge Student Welcome & Family Orientation Event at 1 pm over in Hitchcock Hall. We disbursed student folders, which had their schedules, information, and paperwork to be completed. We also collected BuckID cards when the families were done with lunch. The session involved a warm welcome from all the YSP staff: the Director, Assistant Director, Program Manager, and the two Program Coordinators. A few PLs spoke and gave words of wisdom and raised morale. All the PLs also were lined up in the front of the room for a couple minutes so students could realize who we were! I did not know what any of my students looked like, so I was excited.
Afterwards, we had free time and at 5:30 pm, the 12 PLs gathered the 118 students in the lobby of Lawrence and one by one, each PL would call our group members’ names to bring them outside. I took my group/family to a shady area by the NROTC building. I introduced myself, then had my 10 students introduce themselves, and then we all created a family GroupMe. We did an icebreaker (“I’m a Buckeye and you’re a Buckeye too if …”) and then did a Family Chat, which I was instructed to do by the YSP staff. The topic was social media and its impact on college students’ lives. We did not have a discussion, but I asked questions such as what social media accounts the students had, what do they post, are they private, and do they use their real name? I understood that this was a long day for them and many had to get up early at 6 or so in the morning, so we ended quickly. I answered questions and said that the rest of the day was free to do whatever.
Monday, July 31st – First Day of Summer Bridge Classes
The day goes like this:
- ODI Workshops – 4 different groups of scholars, randomly divided
- Academic Core – 4 classes (Chemistry, Psychology, Physics, Economics)
- Mathematics or Data Analysis (Statistics) – Math 1050, 1075, 1075, 1148, 1148, 1150 and 1151 (7 math classes) and 1 statistics
- The math classes have a supply of iPads (YSP has used the same ones since I was in eighth grade)
- English and Research Methods – 4 English classes and one Research Methods
- Afternoon Workshops (if applicable)
- Dinner/Free Time
- Evening Activity (if applicable)
The first day was very eventful. We had a student with the stomach flu, and several were lost. Scholars needed to have schedules on them at all times, and should be using the Ohio State app or Google Maps or Maps app for iPhones. Their PLs should not be reminding them which class to go to next. (The first week in general could be described as conditions being hectic, hot and hungry.)
In the afternoon, the students had a Campus Police safety presentation. While the students learned about this, the PLs and YSP staff assembled to debrief on the day and discuss what went well and what didn’t. In the evening, we had a welcome event at the RPAC, where a wellness director talked to us. The Wellness Center provided ice cream of all kinds (Drumsticks, Oreo sandwiches, popsicles). They also had a sign-up station for Zumba, yoga, crate stacking/rock climbing, or personal training. All students had to choose at least one session to attend. There was a space in the RPAC for coloring pages, playing cards, and giant Jenga. I had another Peer Family meeting with them to discuss basic rules (be down in Lawrence lobby by 7:25 am to be led to their classes, no open foods in the dorms to prevent ants, have your school supplies and backpack, communicate in the group chat, etc.)
Tuesday, August 1st –
PLs led students to their classes. In the evening we had an introduction session from RPAC and students went on tours of the facility. There were always some who wanted to leave and do homework, but they were required to stay for the duration of the program. Therefore, we suggested that the students hang out in the Nike Lounge in the basement of the RPAC. There’s a pool table, couches and game consoles.
Wednesday, August 2nd –
Full day of workshops and classes again. Every day during the first week of Bridge, the PLs gathered with the YSP staff to do a debrief meeting, and troubleshoot any issues. We could bring up anything we noticed among the students and work to find solutions. Groups 1 and 2 had a wellness presentation in the RPAC (topics covered most likely were condom club, nutrition and financial wellness) Back in Lawrence at night, we invited anyone interested to play the game Mafia. There’s a conference room on the 11th floor with enough tables and chairs to have at least 20 people.
Thursday, August 3rd –
After classes, students had a presentation from OSU Libraries about employment opportunities. Then I held a family meeting to discuss their feelings towards bridge and about school involvement, including informing them about the Involvement Fair! I reminded them to respond to my group chat messages and like them to indicate that they read the messages. Furthermore, I suggested that they budget their money and begin packing. Then we headed towards Lawrence Tower to catch a bus to the Adventure Recreation Center (ARC). All Scholars had to come; those who signed up for Crate Stacking and Rock Wall Climbing would participate and the others had to be in the building. There’s cardio equipment, basketball courts, and turf fields for running or playing soccer. I played soccer with a few of my Scholars as well as other people, including my younger brother! This was my first soccer game, so I was not the best by far. At night, I played the Mafia game with other Peer Leaders and Scholars. This was a way to get to know each other better and wind down. We also all packed a moderate amount in preparation for the next day, which is move in. To end the day, I informed my group about upcoming weekend events such as Gallery Hop and Ohio’s Sales Tax Holiday.
Friday, August 4th – Move Into Permanent Housing
Today was an exciting day because we all were able to move into our permanent dorms for the academic year. There were no ODI workshops, to allow for everyone to receive more sleep, so just academic class, math, and English. Throughout the morning/early afternoon, PLs had one-on-one debrief sessions with the Program Manager LaNorris or Program Coordinator Marissa. We could disclose how we personally felt about Bridge. I actually believed that I was a weak PL since I do not speak often and do not assert myself. However, Mr. LaNorris told me that my thought was not accurate; I was strong and competent after all. Afterwards, I met with my freshman year Success Coach Alvian, who is also a YSP Program Coordinator (and graduated with a B.S. in Public Health in 2015!) The Peer Leaders, after taking attendance for their English classes, began packing. We used a notebook to keep a numbered list of which Scholars would be moving out first. At 3 pm, two of my Scholars in my family were already in the lobby because they speed-walked and wrote their names on the list. I was flabbergasted at how quickly they arrived to Lawrence Tower and how eager they were to get out of it! They were the first ones to leave. Young Scholars Program staff came with ginormous SUVs to take the Scholars. The process went by smoothly and efficiently; the PLs were able to be transported in the SUVs around 7 pm. I could not believe that one week had already passed, and was thankful that we had ironed out the rough edges during the week. During the weekend, most of my Scholars had went back home to pick up more items. I would have liked to spend some time with them, but they were busy. Instead, I went on my first Gallery Hop with two close friends/fellow PLs. Furthermore, Mr. Lanorris stated that it is important for me to relax and do self-care.
WEEK TWO OF SUMMER BRIDGE EXPERIENCE
Beginning this week, the students can get to their classes independently (ideally). The PLs do not escort them. To my chagrin, there were still several students late to their classes daily, some were repeat offenders from the previous week. Some said they overslept but a PL retorted that that is not a valid excuse.
Monday, August 7th –
The majority of the time after I take attendance for my classes, I leave the class. However, I enjoy sitting in on the Economics class because the teacher is so engaging. I learn from his class too because he provides a plethora of examples. He told the class the secret to becoming rich: “Buy low, and sell high.” Later, my family and I came to a consensus to have our Family Meeting after English. I reserved a room in Thompson Library for the 11 of us, and they all were mostly on time. Our meeting lasted about 45 minutes, the longest meeting we had! This was a good thing. We learned about each others’ birthdays and then did a few icebreakers. (One of my favorites was reading out loud a random fun fact and then telling the student “Name five [objects, people, etc.] in 10 seconds.” Our conversation included their weekend plans and their thoughts on their dorm assignments. We discussed what jobs they were looking for and most said Office Assistant or library jobs, or Hale Hall. Also, I wrote out questions on slips of paper and the students randomly chose a slip to read off of and answer out loud. The meeting had lots of laughs and joking around. Finally, we reached the assigned Family Chat Topic, which was about study habits. I asked how they all studied and received a mix of answers (memorization, flash cards, study groups, depending on the subject). Most of them also claim to be procrastinators. I am the total opposite, with a Type-A get-it-done mentality. I shared some study tips. Additionally, we talked about which subjects they were most concerned about and would likely request tutoring for. I made a list of these classes to try to look up resources. The evening activity was indoor volleyball and dodge-ball; Scholars could go anywhere in the RPAC as long as they did not leave until 8 pm. I saw many of them playing ping-pong, using an exercise bike, or doing homework, or simply sitting around on their phone.
Tuesday, August 8th –
Another normal day of classes, followed by OSU Libraries Employment Opportunities Job Fair, held specifically for the Young Scholars Program. Many students were not interested in working for a library, so we suggested networking for 15 minutes before leaving. After dinner there was a Zumba fitness class, and everyone had to be at the RPAC regardless of whether they signed up for the class or not. I spoke with a student who I didn’t know much about, so I was glad to be deepening a connection and actually learning details about her. She’s a Cleveland Young Scholar, like me, but we had never had a conversation until now. Meanwhile, there were students who checked the clock constantly for it to be 8 pm to be dismissed from the evening activity, and as soon as the time changed to exactly that, they immediately exited the RPAC.
Wednesday, August 9th –
In the evening, I held another family meeting, in the same room I reserved before at Thompson. We had an hour reserved. I began with asking what the Scholars remembered about me. In general, they guessed the city I hailed from (Cleveland). One of them knew my exact birthday, while others knew the month. Nobody remembered my major, so I repeated it to them. Next we did a short icebreaker of Two Truths and a Lie, which is commonly used but doesn’t take a lot of time to complete. The other icebreakers I had in mind would require us to be outside and loud. My family had trouble figuring out which was my lie! Next, we quickly went over who wanted help with resumes! Then we went into our Family Chat Topic, which was about the highs and lows of my college experience. To begin, I brought back the question I asked when I first met the group: “What are you looking forward to in college?” Some responses were: being away from home; getting the whole college experience; making friends; graduating; and football games. I shared mine when I entered Bridge: being independent and in a new environment and just growing as a person in general. Following this was the worries we had. Mine were academically adjusting to the rigors of a reputable university and staying in school. Some of their worries were the overwhelming class sizes, writing papers, and managing their time. Making note of these concerns, I moved onwards to briefly describing my High and Low points of my first year, going from how I did during bridge and then how I progressed. The meeting ended with me assuring the students that there’s going to be ups and downs expected but they can survive, and I quoted “Stars cannot shine without darkness.” My family erupted in laughs and support. At night, the PLs gathered for an exclusive potluck. We celebrated making it halfway through bridge!
Thursday, August 10th –
In the morning I was able to sleep in (Group 1 had no workshop and Economics had office hours), and then I just had to take attendance for math and Research Methods. The afternoon workshop was held by the Office of International Affairs, addressing the entire cohort, in Hale Hall. It was great information, from several speakers, including students who had previously studied abroad. At 6 pm, there was a personal training presentation at the RPAC, with my best friend and I being the PLs assigned to take attendance for it. A certified personal trainer described the various facets of training (full body workouts, exercise equipment types, cardio, strength training, and resources that rec sports offered). Today was a more relaxed today and I felt like we had no major issues. However, I did have one of my Scholars arrive to the study abroad presentation half an hour late. Tardiness is not tolerated, and it bothered me because we were halfway through with bridge and it made no sense to be that late. At the end of the day, in GroupMe I messaged some more reminders! I also helped two Scholars in my family with their resumes!
Friday, August 11th –
This was a good day. In the morning, the entire YSP cohort went to Hale Hall for a presentation from various ODI speakers about tutoring and work-study opportunities. Many Scholars were interested in working at one of the desks/offices in the building because it was not strenuous work and would give them time to study. Furthermore, the hours are flexible and include availability on the weekends! A few of the people in my family indicated that they’d apply for a position. Later on in the day, my family and I were supposed to have a peer family meeting, but we agreed to postpone our meeting until the following week. At 9 pm, some PLs and Scholars joined up for more Mafia! I was actually narrator for one round and I struggled with coming up with scenarios of how the individuals were killed. Also there was cheating in the game, which we had never encountered while playing before.
Saturday, August 12th –
From 11 am to 1 pm, ODI had a special event on Saturday which involved bringing in YSP alumni to serve on a panel and meet the incoming freshmen! The YSP Alumni Association had representatives come from as far as Los Angeles to talk about their experiences as well as offer words of wisdom. There was time for question and answers. Then we had a catered lunch. Finally, we had a YSP cohort photo immediately after the panel on the steps of the Public Affairs building. This was a great time because the Scholars all wore the same shirt which made them feel united. The PLs coordinated with red polo shirts, so we felt included as well. Additionally, my own family wanted to take a group photo (all the girls were present while all the males returned home).
WEEK THREE OF SUMMER BRIDGE EXPERIENCE
Monday, August 14th –
I had a family meeting in Hagerty Hall by the café area, and we did an icebreaker before I discussed mental health resources and physical health resources. The Student Wellness Center, Counseling & Consultation Services, and Rec Sports were mentioned. Additionally, I disclosed my own struggles with mental health and self-care.
Tuesday, August 15th –
My family meeting was after English and we had a shorter session, with less information provided. The family chat topic of the day was Accountability Among Peers. The family requested that we not do an icebreaker. I asked if it bothered my family that I did not smile much. They said “No”, and they said they respected me and liked me. What’s important is that I remain true to my authentic self. I asked what accountability meant and examples of how to employ that characteristic. Then I provided advice of how to be accountable in various areas, whether that be work or school or with roommates or friends.
Battleship was an optional evening activity and had a maximum of 75 participants. In the game, there were six teams, one team per canoe. Each team could have four people, and they were provided with two buckets. They had no oars, so had to use their hands to move the boat. Their goal was to be the last canoe floating by trying to dump water onto other people’s canoes so they’d sink. There were three rounds, and we had a good turn out of people! There were several who watched the battle, and I enjoyed spectating too. Two of my Scholars were on a winning team!
Wednesday, August 16th –
The 8 am sessions were facilitated by the PLs according to their groups: 1, 2, 3 or 4. The PLs all made Kahoot games for their groups. They asked questions to test what the Scholars knew. “How much are Swipes worth?” “What service on campus can provide safe rides for you during 7 pm through 3 am?” We also included questions about all the PLs to help them get to know us better. This was the last week of Bridge, and we had a good handful who did not which PL was which. We had some people who did not know what about our majors. There are 12 PLs, so I can understand that to an extent. It was overall a great session, with the students gaining knowledge or reinforcing concepts they had learned previously. My group had 25 questions, and we stopped in between questions to explain ideas in detail!
This day, we also had more sick students having to go to the Minute Clinic or emergency rooms. It has been quite an eventful Bridge. It has made me more attentive to how people show their symptoms. It can be very subtle, like a flushed face or sunken-in eyes. Although I have to adjust my personal plans to accompany the Scholars, I am helping people, so I cannot be remorseful for it.
Later, during Research Methods, I walked around to assist students with creating their research posters, which they’ll present on Friday. The afternoon workshop was about wellness center coaching in the PAES Smart Lab on the 4th floor, but nobody arrived, so we dismissed the Scholars after 20 minutes of waiting.
At 7 pm, another PL and I brought our families together to walk over to Mad Mex, a restaurant on South campus, to eat Mexican-style food for dinner! This was my first and only family dinner, and the last time we would meet to have a conversation. Our family chat topic was Balancing Home Life and College Life. I genuinely enjoyed the dinner! I learned that most of the Scholars were inducted into YSP a year ago (in 2016) or in junior year. Meanwhile I was inducted in the 6th grade, and we are colloquially called “the Originals.” Nonetheless, I beamed when my Scholars asked me questions about what I liked in terms of movies and sports.
Thursday, August 17th –
The ODI workshop entailed the YSP cohort meeting their ASPs (Academic Success Partners!) These people are generally junior or senior year undergraduates who are employed to mentor a group of Scholars throughout their freshman year. They meet weekly or biweekly for at least an hour. The evening activity was the ODI Early Arrival Programs Mixer, with about 300 students from the Young Scholars Program, Morrill Scholars Program, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and Bell National Resource Center. The PLs helped the Scholars mingle. There was Italian shaved ice and a DJ playing music and announcing giveaways. The Scholars could enter raffles to win festival tickets and even Kendrick Lamar concert tickets! The Scholars met new people and had a great time dancing and socializing.
Friday, August 18th – Culmination of Summer Bridge Experience 2017
At 8 am, we had the YSP Closing Session and Evaluation. I was excited to give out the superlatives to my Scholars. All the PLs colored in a trophy sheet template for their families. After a speech from Ms. Chila, the Assistant Director, we had Scholars complete an evaluation of Bridge, with questions about their courses and about their PLs. The PLs left the room to avoid biasing the survey results. We then passed out our superlatives and it was heartwarming to me because we saw how not only the Scholars had grown, but how we ourselves had prospered.
We still had academic core, math, and English classes. Furthermore, the Research Methods class had poster presentations occurring from 2:45 to 4 pm. This allowed the class enough time to print their posters, which were suggested to be 36″ by 48″ (3 feet by 4 feet). ODI provided them with printing money. There were printing issues, which happened last year as well. Some students could not print their posters, so had to resort to normal size 8 by 11 inch sheets to pin up onto the boards. At Hale Hall, faculty from around campus were invited to come see the posters and engage with the Scholars. The 17 of them were the guest judged. YSP encourages all Scholars to get involved in undergraduate research at some point! This poster forum can serve as a catalyst for students to be more inquisitive and creative. I was impressed at how the posters were all detailed and well-designed.
The evening activity was the ODI Early Arrival Program Basketball/Dodgeball Tournament, at the ARC. Here, YSP, MSP, LSAMP, and BNRC were mixed together on teams so that it wasn’t entire ODI programs competing against each other. We do not want rivalry, but cooperation and coexisting. This was the final ODI event and marked the official end of Bridge 2017!
Summer Bridge Experience allowed me to strengthen my leadership, empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills. I refined my speaking skills through my staff debrief meetings as well as through my Family Chats. I had to remain open-minded when understanding conflict. Also, Bridge tested my patience. With the issues of tardiness, absences, lost schedules/school supplies/IDs, and disrespectful attitudes we encountered, we had to remain calm and positive. At times, I had to drop what I was doing and immediately rush into action for the students. I helped search for missing lanyards and whatnot. I skipped or delayed meals to take students to get medical care. This reflects my mission of putting the Scholars first. My job/priority was taking care of the students, especially the ones in my own group/family, but making myself available and extending my help to others as well.
I built relationships with multiple students, especially in my family. I gave my insight and fostered a nurturing, supportive environment where students could ask questions and learn about campus/community resources. I encouraged them to have a healthy self esteem and to aspire for greatness by setting high but achievable goals for themselves. A college education is valuable, and especially when most/all of it is paid for by YSP, it is important that they complete college. Although it would be nice if some Scholars looked up to me, if I could just instill in the Scholars a sense of purpose, I will be satisfied.
I was not provided a stipend at all for being a PL, but my early move-in and meals were covered. I would suggest this opportunity to be a Peer Leader to other Young Scholars who want to give back to the program while serving and leading. The experience was worthwhile.
“Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities.” – Tim Fargo
KEY:Abbreviations and Acronyms
ODI – Office of Diversity & Inclusion
YSP – Young Scholars Program
PL – Peer Leader
ASP – Academic Success Partner
Bridge – Summer Bridge Experience
BNRC – Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male
MSP – Morrill Scholars Program
LSAMP – Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation
Hale Hall – the hub and headquarters of ODI; official name of the location is Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center