For many of us, attending CU Boulder is a dream, realized. It does hold its challenges, however, particularly for underrepresented students with financial hardships. The McNeill Summer Launch alleviates many of the early stressors of attending a college such as CU Boulder. The campus may feel overwhelming and isolating at times by the number of students and the size of the campus. The college transition is different for many of us, coupled with changes in a student’s daily routine (studying, eating, and socializing). Having this program brings students from multicultural backgrounds in a communal space with the aim of welcoming them with open arms. Future McNeill scholars arrive with anxious smiles and excitement across their faces, which faculty, staff, and peer mentors are all too familiar with.
The day started off with a program overview, then students met with Financial Aid and we incorporated team building exercises throughout the day. We laughed, we ate, and we played games from UNO, volleyball, Frisbee, and bean bag toss. We later took a quick break to gather ourselves, then to take a short tour around the Fleming building where the McNeill Program resides, introducing students to our study spaces, classrooms, and the various offices that students will become familiar with through their academic career. At midday, we nibbled on sandwiches from one of Boulder’s famous restaurants, Half Fast Subs, and shared our experiences at CU with the new class of 2017. As a peer mentor, we meet with those whose backgrounds are relatively similar to our own, not too long ago. We could connect on student to student basis.
Through various activities students could get to know their future McNeill faculty and get excited about their areas of study. By the end of the day, faculty and peer mentors assisted students with finding and registering for fall semester classes. All the peer mentors were able to establish a strong connection to the future students on this campus and help ease the rough and stressful transition into the next chapter of their lives. We look forward to encountering all the new McNeill students around campus.