Honors students show fellow Lopes the ropes
By Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau
“Uh, wow. College.”
That’s about all one of the freshmen at the Honors College mentorship meeting at Grand Canyon University could muster.
But that’s OK. It’s why the college has this program, so upperclassmen on the Student Advisory Board can say things like this:
“In high school, I was the do-everything guy, but I found out in college that’s not possible.”
“If you’re showing up to class and utilizing all the people and resources around you, you can’t fail.”
“Your professors are always, always there for you.”
“Take the weird jobs if you have to. Being a security guard showed me the importance of being able to connect with people.”
“You haven’t lived until you’ve gone to a basketball game, even if you don’t like basketball.”
“A routine calms you down and you know what’s coming all week.”
“Finding that thing that makes you tick is incredible.”
The Freshman Leadership Initiative to Gain Honors Tenacity, (FLIGHT) mentorship program brought together Honors students at every level, from majors across the board. It was the kickoff event for a semester’s worth of one-on-one meetings between the students paired with each other.
The college’s program manager, Dennis Williams, said “providing a great first-year experience for students is a huge emphasis across the entire campus.”
“FLIGHT started as a way to ensure that our honors freshmen feel supported and connected right from the start,” he added.
Teresita Figueroa, a senior pre-med major, was paired with freshman Hadassah Gates, also studying pre-med.
Figueroa has amazing experience in the field to help mentor Gates. For the past seven years, she has volunteered at a hospital in various departments, forgoing paid positions so she can immerse herself in the field.
“I started my sophomore year of high school,” Figueroa said. “I was like, ‘OK, I kind of like this.’ So I kept going and I’ve been there ever since.”
Figueroa said she decided to be a mentor because of the positive impact her mentors had on her.
“I’ve been mentored for a while now, and it has been really helpful … I’ve been able to keep my focus and I know the general vision I have,” she said. “They have been guiding me through it, especially with MCAT, or medical school submissions, because it’s not about applying everywhere, it’s about your needs and your specialty areas. So I’m grateful and am excited to do that for (Hadassah).”
Gates said meeting Figueroa and the other mentors helped her lessen the stress of starting college.
“I’m kind of overwhelmed with getting here and then feeling like I have to get involved in everything, and so it kind of helped me to take a deep breath and relax because there are other people that are in the program that have done it and are doing well,” Gates said. “I’m overwhelmed sometimes to the point where I don’t even know what to ask because I don’t know what I don’t know. And so really being able to hear from the students about stuff that I felt like is really applicable to me and getting to talk to someone who is in my field of study personally really helps me to relax.”
Gates said GCU as a whole has made her feel completely supported so far.
“It makes me feel like I am not on my own and I have people that are willing to help me and are not going to let me just drown even though it’s a really competitive field.”
There are two more FLIGHT events this semester, on Oct. 26 and Nov. 9, where students can connect and go on to meet one-on-one with a mentor. Honors students can email Williams at [email protected] to learn more.
Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or [email protected].