Reading Playing the guitar Swimming Listening to music
December 11, 2016
I have decided to devote this week’s blog to one of my highly recommended programs for future first-year students at the University of Richmond. When I was back at home, only months away from my flight to Richmond, VA, I was excited and worried about making this transition to college life in a foreign country. I was mostly scared of feeling lost and failing to find someone close to talk to for advice, guidance and counseling. As a result, I decided to apply to a program called Peer Advisors and Mentors, which matches first-year students (mentees) with upperclassmen (mentors) in a Family Cluster consisting of about 12 members in total.
Through this program, I was able to form a close group of friends right from the start of the semester, which helped me develop a strong sense of community and support in a very short period of time. I also found this to be a truly helpful initiative because it helped me connect with my mentor over the summer, during which I remember asking her so many questions about choosing my courses for fall semester, how to set up my schedule, what things to do in my free time, which clubs she recommended me to join, where and when to buy my textbooks and such. Having this kind of contact gave me more confidence when I set foot on campus, and I really think it contributed to making this new experience as enjoyable as possible.
What I like the most about the Peer Advisor and Mentors Program is that it organizes several (free woo-hoo!) social activities to build our relationship with our designated family clusters. Here are my favorites so far:
Disc Golf: We had the chance to try out the Disc Golf course and hang out at the Richmond Room, where we bonded over food and made our own (my first by the way) s’mores at the s’more station. Through this event, I was also able to meet one of my closest Latin American friends from the Caribbean.
Trick or Treat Street: Through PAM, I also engaged with the Richmond community by volunteering at TOTS and decorating cookies and egg cartons into spiders for the children to celebrate the Halloween festivities.
Family Cluster Night Out: To take advantage of the funds that are available for cluster family events, my lovely fam organized a dinner for all of us to go to Carytown. We had dinner at Zzaam, a Korean barbecue restaurant, and then, to satisfy our sweet tooth cravings, we went straight to Shyndigz, RVA’s first dessert-only restaurant, where I got a ginormous piece of the most delicious fruit cake I’ve ever tried, with, of course, a cup of hot chocolate (aka heavenly cup of comfort).
End-of-Semester JAM: We had our PAM JAM at SkateNation in Short Pump, where we played laser tag and arcade games. We also took advantage of the ice rink and went ice skating, which I was so excited to try for the first time. I do have to admit I fell down more than a couple of times, but I did manage to make a couple of accident-less laps. I left with a cold butt, but a happy smile nonetheless.
Why UR?I chose UR because it makes me feel at home. When I visited campus in April, I was surprised to be surrounded by a supportive and welcoming body of students, faculty and staff who really cared about me. They provided me with a sense of belonging and showed me that if I chose UR, I'd gain a new family too.