After completing my junior year at the University of Michigan, I entered the summer of 2017 working on the Big House Program as an intern for the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. The Big House Program began six years ago through a student organization called PILOT. The program aids rising high school seniors who come from a disadvantaged background (low socioeconomic status, first-generation, etc.) in applying to college. Each summer, a handful of students are selected to be a part of this program. Before the beginning of the student’s senior year in high school, it works to familiarize the college application process to the students. Students are provided with all the information they need to know in preparation for college such as details about financial aid, the Common App, deadlines, and even helping them brainstorm for specific essay questions.
Being someone who is a first-generation college student, an immigrant, and from a small town, I understand all too well the difficulty of applying to colleges, acclimating and navigating yourself through a huge university campus, and struggling to find a support system within the college campus. These were just some of the challenges I faced myself as a young college student with my unique background. Yet through the support of counselors, teachers, and mentors, I was able to succeed and find my path.
Interning and working for the program feels like my own way of giving back in helping aid young leaders in pursuing a college education. Education is a powerful tool. Just like every field, the field of education must be diversified, especially in higher education. The Big House Program helps makes this possible. In the past weeks, the other interns and I have worked rigorously in creating applications for the program, conducting interviews with prospective participants, and contacting University of Michigan alumni, administrators, and graduate students to come and speak with our students. The students have been selected and plan to come to the University of Michigan campus in August. I am really looking forward to getting to know them individually and supporting their goals as a mentor. I am extremely lucky that I have an internship that combines my passion for social justice, my love for education, and my eagerness to give back.