Coming to college can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience. Not knowing where to go, how to sign up for classes, even the proper way to prepare for an exam all add to a stressful first semester. Thankfully, at the University of Rhode Island, there’s the mandatory URI 101 class that helps ease the stress of your first semester.

I know my URI 101 class, teacher and mentor helped me adjust to my first year here which is why when I had the chance, I became a URI 101 mentor. And it was one of my best decisions.

My URI 101 mentor helped me with not only adjusting to the college life but also to find clubs and organizations that I have come to call my family. She helped me to branch out and encouraged me to try new things, things that might have been outside my comfort zone. Without her enthusiasm and help in the classroom, I don’t think I would be where I am today. She helped me so much throughout my 101 class, which is why this past fall semester I took the opportunity to be a mentor and to try and help underclassmen the same way that I was helped in my URI 101 class.

The experience was one like no other. I gained skills in speaking to a group of students, in running my own lessons and in being a mentor to those who needed help. It wasn’t all easy work. The class a mentor takes along with mentoring required its fair share of work. But it all paid off during the 101 class itself when I was able to help underclassmen in any way they may have needed.

I’ve personally always had a need to help. That need has shown through since I was a little kid. My parents would always tell me stories of when I would help other students in classes and other activities. It wasn’t that much of a surprise that I signed up to be a mentor.

Getting to help underclassmen in ways they may have not known they needed was an amazing feeling for me. I became one of the first people they knew at URI and I extended myself to help them in whatever way. Whether they were having issues academically, socially or just needed to know the best time to go to the dining hall. I loved getting to help them figure out their schedules and just talking to them about their classes and the best way to handle all the stress that comes with midterms and finals.

I’m excited to get to help again next semester and be a mentor for a new group of freshmen who were just like I was when I came for my first year. There’s no doubt in my head that they are nervous about coming into URI and for me, getting to help them conquer those nervous feelings while successfully navigating them through their first semester is an experience like no other. I am forever grateful to my URI 101 mentor and hope that maybe one day, one of my own students feels the same way as I do.

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Caitlyn Picard
Caitlyn is a senior journalism and English major who has been on the Cigar since her sophomore year. Now as co-News Editor, Caitlyn is hoping to gain more experience in the field that she can hopefully use in her life after URI. caitpic@my.uri.edu