By: Julianne Tran
And just like that, I am in my second semester of college! These past weeks have been filled with many changes. My classes have changed, the routine I had comfortably fallen into has changed. I no longer see the same familiar faces on my walks from class to class, and I am adjusting to new professors and new expectations. In spite of all these changes, I have found some comfort in the newness and forced adaptability. They have granted me the opportunity to expand my comfort zone and embrace different interactions and experiences.
Amidst all these changes, I am especially grateful for the mentoring I have received through the Mentors and Protégés (MAPs) program and the Leaders Incorporated (LINC) peer mentoring program. Both of these serve incoming minority students by providing us with mentors who offer support, insight and advice. They have truly been my line of defense.
MAPs connected me with a faculty mentor. I remember the first meeting with psychology professor Dr. Lisa Cromer over lunch just a few minutes away from campus at Jane’s restaurant in early fall. We chatted about how we grew up, our favorite places to visit, career paths and expectations from this pairing. I enjoyed being able to simply share my struggles in adjusting to college life, my anxieties about the future and my hopes and dreams for myself.
My mentorship with Dr. Cromer arose out of that initial encounter. We meet once a month to share about how everything – from classes to professors to family to friends – has been going over that month. This relationship has been a special support system for me. Dr. Cromer has provided much wisdom and advice when it comes to my stresses within the university sphere as well as outside of it. She has also guided me as I question my goals and career path.
I am immensely grateful for this relationship because I need all the guidance I can get. It has taught me the value of asking for help, building relationships and accepting that not everything will go as planned.
To add to this line of defense, I have been participating in the LINC program, which connects me with a student mentor who has similar interests. It has worked out perfectly, as I am paired with an upperclassman within my major, Malyke Bray. When I first received the pairing, I remember reading “Reason for pairing: similar interest → working out.” At that moment, I was on a one-week exercise kick that did not last too long!
Nevertheless, I am thankful for this mentorship pairing. Talking with Malyke about his life as a junior majoring in exercise and sports science on the pre-med track has felt as if I am jumping two years ahead and seeing what my academic life could be like. I love hearing his “yeah, I remember that class/professor” perspective on the courses I may find intimidating or challenging at the time. Hearing his advice and his experiences often minimizes my stress and helps me to see that it actually is not as impossible as I think it is to get past present struggles.
These mentors have been so helpful and supportive to me this last semester. I’m excited to see what the future of this spring semester holds!
Julianne Tran is from Mustang, Oklahoma. She is majoring in exercise and sports science on the pre-med track, with a minor in Spanish. Julianne loves dancing and trying to make entire meals in her dorm room microwave. “I hope to finish my time at TU as a kinder, smarter and better-equipped person!”