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Building Resilience in College through Mentorship

Last updated on Oct 29, 2021

First-Gen Photo Bianca

Bianca Ramos - Assistant Director of Student Success

Throughout my undergraduate years, my mentors played an important role in helping me build resilience. As a first-generation student from a low-income background, I battled with feelings of anxiety and self-doubt when I first arrived at UC Irvine because I felt unprepared to go to college. During my first year, I felt overwhelmed with navigating the demands of a new environment centered around taking rigorous classes and getting involved on campus. I experienced a lot of pressure from being the “first” and also the “best” in everything I did. I experienced depression that stemmed from homesickness, and I was too afraid to admit it to myself. I was also on the verge of failing a course after receiving two failing midterm grades and for the first time, I felt inadequate. I did not want to fall on academic probation, so I reached out to my academic advisor who was very supportive. She referred me to the Counseling Center, where I learned to cope with my homesickness. She also advised me to go to my professor’s office hours to discuss study strategies that ultimately helped me pass the course I was failing. This experience taught me the importance of asking for help, utilizing campus resources, and engaging in self-care. Most importantly, I learned to believe in myself and persevere. I realized that college would be a continuous learning experience with valuable lessons and opportunities for personal and professional growth, and I learned to make the most of my college experience with the support of my mentors, family, and friends.

Learning to ask for help and seek support when I needed it during my undergraduate years encouraged me to do the same during graduate school. This experience has also inspired me to support and mentor students in higher education, especially first-generation college students. Remember, it is okay to ask for help and advocate for your needs. Build connections and community with those who support and empower you, and I encourage you to show up as your authentic self and make any space your own. You belong, you are resilient, and your unique experiences are valuable.

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