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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePauw chapter.

When I was a first-year student in college I was constantly overwhelmed and worried about taking the rights classes, staying on track, and joining clubs all without spreading myself too thin. Looking back I now know that nothing can perfectly prepare anyone for all the things they may encounter during their freshman year in college. However, finding a mentor is one of the most important things I did do, that helped ease some of my worries and feelings of being overwhelmed.

During my first week of college, I was put into a mentor group with other freshmen as we did icebreaker activities and learned a little more about the school and campus. A third-year student led this group and I learned so much from her and she is now one of my best friends on campus. I was lucky enough to be paired with her and have a mentor, someone who I could lean on or ask any questions to. However, I know that most freshmen in college don’t get that experience so I think it’s important to share where else I found mentors in hopes that others will, too.

Right away I joined a lot of student organizations, such as the school newspaper, radio station, and Her Campus. Through these organizations, I became friends with upperclassmen and other freshmen who had similar interests. As these groups solidified we became more friendly with each other and it became easier for me to ask to grab lunch with someone or grab a coffee. It seemed scary at first because I was a freshman asking an upperclassman to hang out with me but everyone that I asked was more than happy to chat and spend time with me. In the beginning, it was mostly talking about the clubs we were in together or the classes we were taking, and like any new relationship the “getting to know each other” phase could be awkward but I noticed people wanted to be friends so that didn’t really occur. I became close with the editor-in-chief at the school paper she was always a happy person and I received a lot of guidance from her about working in a leadership role, becoming a better writer, and she encouraged me to go out for the editorial role I now hold. She gave me a lot of advice and helped me become confident in my leadership skills. I owe a lot to her and I don’t know which one came first being a friend or a mentor but she was both for me, and looking back I think it’s important to have both because they want to see you succeed, and they’ll push you to succeed but they also care about you as a person.

Someone else who I consider a mentor is my professor who I asked to also be my advisor. I had one class with her first semester freshman year and since then I have always taken one of her classes every semester. I had an interest in history growing up but this professor is the woman who ignited my passion for history, so much so that I made it my major. She pushed me to be better and helped me see that I can study whatever I want and that there is a place for my interests within the academic world. I go into her office hours to talk about history and future plans. She truly loves it when her students drop by to talk and I think that is something that is important to look for in your professors because those are the ones that care about their students and advocate for them when they need it. So those professors make amazing mentors because they have more of the professional experience to guide you but they are still invested in your success and want to help you be better.

I understand there are a million questions that first years have and that they are looking for someone to be their mentor because that’s where I was a year ago. However, it is also important not to force a certain mentor relationship because the ones that occur naturally are the ones that get to know you as a person and care about your best interests. Lastly, the people you are friends with want to see you succeed, it’s okay if the dynamic is not exactly a mentor and mentee relationship, having a core group of friends to help each other navigate college is just as valuable.

Fiona Sipple

DePauw '25

Hi! My name is Fiona and I am a History and Communications double major. I am passionate about music and photography. I really enjoy taking photos and being a DJ on my school's radio station!