For the fifth year in a row, Dream Project (DP) mentees were invited to participate in the Winter Seminar, held by the College of William & Mary (W&M) at its DC campus. The Winter Seminar is part of a short course that takes place between Fall & Spring semesters. The DP mentees meet with W& M students in small groups, share their stories and backgrounds, listen to advice about college life, and enjoy an informal dinner together.
This year, as usual, a representative from each group of students practiced public speaking skills by recounting their journey to their present situation. Our DP mentee gave a moving account of her life as an immigrant, including her challenges, her accomplishments and her future goals.
Initially, the idea of walking into a room full of college students can be daunting to high school seniors; however, the W&M students are consistently warm and welcoming. This year, the DP mentees articulated their awareness in the change from being hesitant to being involved:
- “I was scared [in the beginning], but they were so friendly!”
- “I thought [when walking into the room], Oh my God all these white kids! But they were all smiling and nice….”
- “I was nervous at first, but then I totally relaxed”.
Obviously, strong connections among members of this age group are made in a short amount of time. As one DP mentee stated: “I met a girl from Guatemala!” [laughs all around}–“Wait! She said she’d help me with my essays!” [more laughter]. Another mentee connected with a W&M student through sports and travel: “I met a guy who plays rugby…and he’s been to Kenya and Italy. Yeah. We made a connection.”
Finally, one mentee summarized the visit in just a few words: “Now THAT was an experience!”