The Oxford Eagle
As a first year student at the University of Mississippi, Taylor Bradley witnessed firsthand the overwhelming feeling of transitioning from high school to university. It was intimidating and difficult to enter a large institution and cope with living without her parents.
Everything from which dorm to live in, which meal plan to choose, which classes to take, or where to purchase her textbooks was a difficult decision. And without a mentor to guide her, she was forced to decide on her own.
Now the junior integrated marketing communications major serves as a Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent mentor to assist incoming college freshmen and high school seniors of the minority race with their transition to college. She helps freshman deal with the challenging decisions she once faced.
“Our purpose is to reach out to minority students and inform them about college life,” Bradley said. “As a mentor, it is our responsibility to make sure that each of these students feels confident about embarking on their journey and furthering their academics.”
The goal of MOST is to introduce incoming freshman of color to the university, leadership activities, campus facilities and resources. Bradley wanted to give back to her state and be a part of something she could really relate to.
“We are here to offer them advice and guidance,” she said. “At this age, many of these students are nervous about going to college or ill-informed. This organization helps give these students a place of comfort to ask questions and expand their knowledge about the university.”
Bradley realized some students may not have a relative or someone in their lives to assist them with the enrollment process. That made her eager to help.
“Coming into college can be an intimidating experience, but if you have people encouraging you and a great support system, you are destined for success,” Bradley said.
Bradley and other MOST mentors have impacted the lives of several young students and altered their perceptions of college. Some who were uneasy and unsure about campus life are now eager and excited. By attending this program, they were able to learn things about college life that universities do not post on websites.
“This organization has really prepared me for college, as well as the real world,” Denisha Wallace, a senior at North Pontotoc High School said. “It allowed me to, not only begin long lasting friendships, but it also taught me different tips to help me survive and be successful through college. I feel like I am better prepared for college now.”
The MOST program provides minority students with a direct perspective into the university and its environment. It also helps to put to rest a majority of assumptions incoming freshman have about the university.
“Due to the university’s negative history regarding race relations, many students, as well as their families, are hesitant to attend the university,” Bradley said. “However, the MOST program allows us to showcase how open the environment is here on campus, and how there are tons of students who can relate to them.”
Wallace recommends that other students become involved with this organization.
“I plan to tell as many other high school seniors as possible about this organization,” Wallace said. “Overall, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. More students preparing for college should be a part of this program because it is very beneficial. It was great to be able to get a full college experience before actually going to college.”
Bradley plans to continue serving as a MOST mentor throughout the remainder of her time at the university. She wants to pass on the information and knowledge she has gained while attending college thus far. This organization has become a significant part of her life, and she looks forward to witnessing what else it has to offer.
“This program has a great mission,” Bradley said. “I think that more upperclassmen students should get involved with this organization because it is such a fantastic and rewarding experience.”