This semester has taught me a lot about myself, and not as much as I had hoped about my saplings. I think that my saplings tried to figure things out on their own for the most part, and were reluctant to reach out for help because they wanted to feel independent. I hoped that I would feel more like I helped them avoid the struggles I encountered last year, but I do not know if that really happened. The best lesson I have learned over the course of this project is that it is really hard to watch people make mistakes that you could help them avoid. I think that I have learned the most from how I have been resilient after tough situations, such as getting grades I am not proud of, or finding out that I cannot learn well from a specific professor, and I hope that even if my saplings did not have the start they had hoped for they can pick themselves back up and figure out what they should change for next semester and the years to come.
Yes, it is obvious that I have missed the middle of the semester by several weeks, I have had a terrible, and stressful semester. I have enjoyed getting to know my saplings over the course of this semester through our discussions in class, and their post on their e-portfolios. I have found it difficult to connect with my saplings at times, because they have found the support they needed through other extra-curricular activities. I felt that I was supporting them through their transition to college when they interviewed me for the peer mentor interview. I got the chance to share with three of my saplings, Alyssa, Matt, and Sam, some the advice I wish that I had received when I was in their shoes. My overall advice was fairly simple, I told them to stop caring about what other people thought, not be afraid to ask for help when they need it, and be true to themselves and their passions. I think that if I would have heard this advice last year I would not have had such a difficult semester this fall, because I would have changed my major earlier, and thus I would not be taking the classes that I am struggling with, because they are not required for my new major, molecular genetics.