I Just Be Chilling Though

Vernon Holman| Contributor

While chilling in the cut, I decided there were a couple of things about freshmen on campus that need to be addressed. After attending the BSB program “A Fly in the Milk” last week I felt compelled to speak on the Peer Mentor program, which I refer to as the “Big Homie Program.”

This program was praised and almost forced onto my peers and I at Symposium. Held at the beginning of the year, Symposium was put in place to bring the black students together so they could get to know other freshman and to meet a few upperclassmen that were supposed to help us along the way.

We were almost charmed into a sense of solidarity among blacks on campus, with the idea that upper class students would be helping guide us through our first year at a Predominantly White Institution(PWI).  We gladly signed up for the program and honestly, 80 percent of us found ourselves bamboozled.

Ideally, the Peer Mentor program seems to be a practical idea. A simple concept that upperclassmen can help us freshmen keep from making the same mistakes they did and guide us along the right path so, hopefully in the future we will become good mentors ourselves. All of this is pushed by a false sense of unity between us.

However sound this idea may seem, it is almost completely false. Most of the “mentors” never even contact their assigned freshmen. Even worse, after Symposium the love that was felt seemed to quickly fade away.

The love was replaced with mean mugs and attitude.

I remember the “Chill And Grill” during Welcome Week where everyone was supposed to converse among one another. Upon arrival I immediately felt tension between the upperclassmen and the freshmen, some of who were mentors during Symposium. I thought I was just being paranoid until the other freshmen that I met there said they felt the same way I did.

On another occasion my friends and I were outside of a club when one of my friends who went to lunch with her mentor two days before was completely ignored by her mentor. My friend walked up to her and said “hey” but she couldn’t even have the courtesy of getting a “hey” back. Her mentor clearly went out of her way to act as if she was oblivious to her existence. Isn’t that disrespectful?

I know several people who text their mentors and don’t even get responses. Some people switch mentors to have the same experience over again.

Now, I’m not bashing every mentor. I have a good mentor who makes sure I’m doing good in class for the most part, acknowledges that I am the freshman who he is supposed to mentor, and says “what’s up” when he sees me. Only one of my friends seems to have a mentor that is good as well.

These other mentors seem to have only signed up to put something on their resume, and to not truly give back. However, it never fails that these bad mentors will push their parties on us freshmen so they can get our money. I’m always getting told about some party they are throwing where they can take my money, but the freshmen can’t even get a “hey” or a text saying “how are you doing?” That’s just foul.

If someone asks me if the blacks on campus are divided, I would say yes and it’s our fault.

Take my words how you want, it doesn’t matter to me because I just be chilling though.

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  • Ant

    I have to say I am very grieved after reading this article. As an AA graduate from NCSU (c/o 2000) to hear that things such as this that are being said about the PM program and even more so about the sense of AA unity on campus is quite disturbing! The overall movement of UNITY of AA on campus needs a RENAISSANCE! Understand you will still have your “Catiness”, “Beefs” and “Classism”, people are people, and that is what that is. We had it in my day too. BUT at the end of the day, when I needed true help, be it notes, advice, a ride, a meal, even detergent for laundry, I knew I could go to other AA on campus to help. (even if it would be w/ some jonesing in that last situation) THIS HAS TO CHANGE!

  • 2012 Graduate

    As a recent graduate of NCSU, I don’t feel that this article is an accurate depiction of the African American community or the Peer Mentor Program. I have personally been a mentee as well as mentor and have known many others that have participated in the program as well. While in specific cases mentees and mentors may not mesh or people get busy or just mentees and mentors never keep up contact with one another, the whole program is not a complete flop. There are very good scenarios that come as a result of the program and you focused on the negative much more than the small paragraph in which you included your own experiences. Not feeling served by the program is one thing, but to describe the relations between upper and lower class students as tension or negativity is false. If there are specific people that have done you or your friends wrong they need to be reported to the program but I know from personal experience that it is sometimes hard to identify, locate and even keep in contact with the freshman class. The issues are on both sides not just on the part of mentors/upperclassman.
    However, regardless of the trivial details, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Freshman need to be more vigilant on campus. Get involved, don’t complain about a mentor but not reach out to them or report the issue. Upperclassman need to try harder to identify and stay connected with their mentees. You have to give a little to get a little.