"One of the things we do for First-Year Mentors is to pick one piece of advice to tell new students. Mine is always: Be brave. Be bold," says Clarissa Moore, a sophomore student majoring in English.
"So many new students are kind of hiding. A lot of them are afraid that college is going to be big and that they’re not going to meet friends. I know that I was terrified," Moore says.
She adds: "But if you're brave and bold, Carlow has so many things to offer. When you take advantage of them, the possibilities are endless. You can go to law school, or you can go to the UN! I don't know what they all want to do, but they can do it here."
First-Year Mentors is a student organization that involves current students in creating a personal network of support for newcomers. As the Class of 2020 gathers on campus to start this fall, First-Year Mentors will be there.
The mentors are busy during orientation, welcoming new students, helping move them into the residence halls, and giving directions and advice. But more than that, they will continue to be present for students throughout the first year.
"It's easier to be bold and brave if you have someone with you who knows your name and knows what you're going through. They will push you to do more," Moore says.
Moore received a push from the professor of the first-year seminar course, Connecting to Carlow. Lou Boyle, PhD, a professor in the English Department, taught students about the university but also reached out on a personal level, checking in to see how they were doing and suggesting ways to pursue their interests.
"Dr. Boyle really encouraged me to get involved with First-Year Mentors,” recalls Moore. “He said to me, 'Do it. Try. Why not?'"
Moore is amazed how much she's changed—and grown—over the past year. In addition to First-Year Mentors, she’s participated in several clubs, including theater and Campus Ministry, as well. She credits First-Year Mentors for "breaking me out of my shell in every way possible," which allowed her to grow through her new experiences.
The benefits of getting involved on campus become more apparent over time.
"I used to be the person who always wore headphones to class, but now I don't do that," Moore says. "At Carlow, everyone is trying to say hi to you, to talk with you. Carlow is just a family."
Learn more about student activities at Carlow.