I don’t know anyone who has described their freshman year at Stanford as “easy”. It’s actually pretty tough out here. Freshman have to navigate this huge place — reflecting on where we’ve been, who we are now and where we’d like to go next. We’re picking out classes for the first time, making and throwing away 4 year plans, choosing a few out of hundreds of the incredible things to participate in. Needless to say, it’s quite easy to get lost or overwhelmed.
What has kept me afloat is my wonderful big sib from the SWE Sib Mentorship Program. Since we first met, my big sib has become the older sister I never realized I wanted. She is my mentor, the occasional parental figure and the very best friend I could ask for. In this huge place, she is the person I can turn to without question (and trust me, I do). She helped me power through multivariable calculus. She provides insight and wisdom when I ask her about classes I might take. She relays to me what she knows about different majors, and always encourages me to consider what would fit me best. She asks me what I want out of my degree, and never makes me feel bad for not knowing. But more important than academic help is that my big sib constantly shows me that I’m important to her. Whether it be through the small things, like sitting next to me in our psych class, or the big things, like coming over to my dorm across campus to talk to me when I’m struggling, my big sib never fails to show me that she cares. I’d like to think that what makes our relationship so strong, though, is that the level of care is reciprocated. I want my big sib to be happy, too. We both support, listen to and come through for each other. Like any relationship, ours has been so successful through unconditional support and constant communication.
The SWE Sib Mentorship Program has shown me the value of having an “older” student looking out for me. (My big sib may be a sophomore, but I’m actually the older one!) I couldn’t imagine going through my freshman year without Ufu, and I hope she feels my gratitude. Big sib, thanks for coming all the way to FroSoCo to visit me. Thanks for letting me hang out with you when you’re doing a PSET at 4 AM. Thanks for inviting me to dinner with your friends, for always introducing me, and for sitting with me in class. Thanks for spending so much time with me. Thanks for educating me about identity, race and your culture. Thanks for putting up with the fact that I never have my bike. Thanks for listening to all of my stories, some funny, some…not so much. Thanks for always answering my questions. Thanks for brightening my day with your beautiful smile. Thank you for your friendship — freshman year would be terribly boring without you.