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Note from Mentor Nicole Kaouris ‘18

An Open Letter to the EOP/MAP First-Year Students

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first semester here at Purchase College, and I’m beyond proud of you. All of the mentors and counselors are. Making the transition from high school to college, living at home to being away from it, having good food to having…decent food…you guys went through a lot of changes this year, and it wasn’t easy. Look around, take it in. You’ve made it. However, your journey isn’t over just yet; you’ve merely taken the first step.

From here on out, you’re going to be on your own, but that doesn’t mean
that you are alone. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a MAP student, it’s
the incredible sense of support and community that this program offers. If you
lose your way, the direction can be found on the second floor of student services. I
promise you, not everyone knows the answer right away. We get caught up in the little things, but don’t dwell on them for too long. Persist. Keep going.

As a freshman, I thought I could do it all on my own. I thought I could handle the workload while also finding time to make friends and go out. But then, I broke down and realized I couldn’t. I’ve thought about dropping out. I felt like I was letting everyone else down, including myself. “What’s the point?” I’d say, “why should I keep trying?”

My GPA wasn’t great, at all. Hearing everyone else making the Dean’s List and getting that 4.0 made me feel like a failure. How did they do it? I felt ashamed. However, I decided—no, I promised—that I’d do better next time around. I picked myself up, and I stayed there. I’m only a sophomore, and I know I have a lot coming for me in the next three and a half years here at Purchase, but my attitude has changed; I went from “what’s the point?” to “bring it on.”

I wanted to be a Peer Mentor to teach you guys that sometimes it’s okay to fail, and it’s okay to not know where you’re going, as long as you pick yourself up. You get thrown off the horse, you bruise yourself, you get a few broken bones, but you get back up. Try, and if you’ve tried, try harder. I wanted to be a mentor because I wanted to be someone you could turn to when life brings you to your lowest.

You’re young, you have your whole life ahead. Not everything has to be done right now. What I learned from my experience as a freshman I wanted to pass down to all of you. Most importantly, I love this program and this school with all my heart, and I wanted to share that with you, and show you what it has to offer.

You are all important to me. You’re my first group of students that I had to pleasure to meet/ mentor, and I will always remember you. It was a fantastic time, and I wanted to thank you. Thank you for making me laugh and allowing me to see the world from a new point of view. I hope to see you around!

To my fellow mentors: thank you, too. I loved working with you over the summer and in the fall; you guys are amazing, and I wish you the best in all you do.

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” –Obi Won Kenobi

Love always, Nicole