Redden---GW_700

Learning and Leading: A Gateway to Success Story

This semester has been busy for me. But, it’s definitely a good thing, as I am fulfilling my goal of becoming more involved on campus. Most days I run from meetings to class to the library to prepare for tests and finish my homework. In the midst of the chaos, I breathe a breath of fresh air when I sit down to mentor first-year Gateway students.

Gateway to Success is a program that is offered to select students preparing them with additional support, guidance, and academic resources to ease the transition to college. Starting the summer before freshman year, the Gateway program ensures that students make a smooth adjustment into their first year. As a Gateway student, I found the summer program particularly helpful. I spent six weeks living on campus, taking college courses, working in groups, and meeting new people. The Gateway advisers, Angela McNeil and Christina Cintron-Marsh, make sure that Gateway students receive the advice and academic support necessary for success in college. Overall, my personal experience with Gateway was—and continues to be—great.

Since I had such a positive experience with Gateway during my first year, I decided to become a mentor this year. I meet with my four mentees about once every two weeks. We normally meet in the library, the Chat, or just any place where we can talk freely. As a mentor, I serve as a peer and resource that can relate to some of their issues, whether they concern academics, finances, or personal experiences. I’m able to relate to parts of their experiences because I had to go through the same ones.

Since I’m only a sophomore, I’m not too far ahead of my mentees, which allows for them to take advice from me, but I also am able to learn from them. I share my experiences whether they have been good or bad. Through our conversations, I’m then able to reflect on what I have done during my time at Arcadia. Knowing that my mentees look up to me in some ways, I’ve become more critical about the decisions I make. With that, I’m developing and growing right along with them. So, with this experience, I’m able to show others how I’m a leader and use the skills I’ve developed so far.