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Pay it forward

A college campus can be a daunting, overwhelming setting. This can be extrapolated to an unimaginable magnitude if a student comes here knowing absolutely no one. With that in mind, I would like to stress the obligation upperclassmen have to reach out to underclassmen.
I can personally attest to the value of having upperclassmen take interest in my college experience. My mentor graduated this past May. During his time here, he was an ambitious trailblazer who unquestionably left the University of Mississippi a better place than it was before he arrived. Before leaving, he cultivated the passion he had for this university within me. Before I leave, I wish to do the same for another student; simply put, I wish to “pay it forward.”
It is difficult to assign value to the impact of having a mentor on campus, and that alone exemplifies the necessity of being a mentor and having one as well. Entities on campus such as the honors college, the Department of Public Policy Leadership and the Freshman Council via ASB each have a mentorship element within them that gives underclassmen the opportunity to intimately interact with upperclassmen.
“I really don’t believe you can overstate the importance of having an older mentor on campus,” said Vinod Kannuthurai, a junior in public policy leadership. “Although I believe education in the classroom is a critical component, I also firmly believe that campus life outside of the classroom is another crucial part of the growing experience. Having an upperclassman to ease the transition of a freshman helps them maximize their college experience.”
The University of Mississippi’s creed even somewhat speaks to the adage of paying it forward. It says, “I believe in good stewardship of our resources.” I fervently believe students are an essential resource of this campus, which means that we should be good stewards of ourselves and foster an environment in which new students can thrive. My own experience at Ole Miss would have shaped up quite differently without a mentor who played an active, immense role in my development.
Ole Miss openly pursues an image of family and unity. What better way to be a cohesive family than to be positive role models for those coming up after us? I’m fairly certain we have all had positive role models in our lives, whether it was a family member, high school teacher or college staff member who invested in us. I think it’s time we pay the great deed of mentorship.

Tim Abram is a public policy junior from Horn Lake. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Abram.