College is a trying, and sometimes trifling time. It is a period of remarkable personal growth. It’s kind of like a second puberty now that I think about it—minus the awkward disproportionate physical growth. College is a period, pun intended, when you should get comfortable with reaching out to people when you need help.

Through the MentorNet program I was able to find theeee most brilliant mentor. She is more like my friend and life coach, my “Oh sage one,”. She has been through the dark times of college and is on the other side of the tunnel, where she guarantees that the grass is definitely greener. She is now a doctor (yay!), so her career interests perfectly align with mine. That was step one, find someone who shares your interests and vibes with your personality.

I’d also have to say that you shouldn’t be afraid to get personal. I’ve had really open and honest conversations not just with my MentorNet mentor, but with my professors, deans and supervisors. Granted, I am a very open person so it really comes as no challenge to me to be unapologetically me. I’ve found that by sharing my frustrations, struggles and life story has helped my mentors provide me with more Alexa-tailored advice—which is the best kind of advice.

Mentorship is a give and take kind of deal; or at least it SHOULD be. It is important for us to reach out to other people who are also strugglin’ to figure out this mess called life. I’m a senior right now and definitely LOVE dishing out soliloquies of advice, whether asked of me or not. It feels good, it forces me to realize how far I have come and the feeling that you get out of supporting another person is priceless. I only wish I could do more.

As first gens we’ve had to pull ourselves from our bootstraps. Just because we have made it this far on our own does not mean that we have to finish this journey alone. God no! It is the exact opposite, we have to network and build connections from LA to NY. We have figured out a lot on our own already, lean on others, others who have been through what you’re going through. There’s nothing wrong with building your own fan club.