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About Us

International Student Mentors

International student mentors (ISMs) begin communicating with you shortly after your enrollment to help you prepare for your arrival to the University. Throughout the academic year, they will continue to support you by organizing fun events and serving as a resource for any questions you have about U.S. culture and University academics.

Please feel free to contact any of the ISMs below, if you find something in common with them after reading their biographies. All of our ISMs are available to answer your questions, but you will be specifically assigned to one ISM. You should also feel free to email other international students assigned to your ISM to ask questions you may have about the University, the local community, or the United States in general.
 

Meet the 2020-21 International Student Mentors

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Selina Xu

Class of 2021

Major: Biochemistry

Senior ISM

Hello everyone, welcome to the University of Rochester! I'm Selina, a rising senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in music. I grew up in Hong Kong and am currently living in San Diego, California. Besides being an ISM, I am also the president of the Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA), a member of the Wind Symphony, and a TA for Orgo lab this coming semester. In my free time, I enjoy watching a variety of TV shows, as well as hanging out with my friends and exploring nearby restaurants (definitely ask me for restaurant recommendations). This is my second year as an ISM, and I can't wait to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Stay healthy! Don't pull an all-nighter when you are not that type of person.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask when you are confused; you will always be able to get help if you try reaching out.
  3. Join clubs/organizations! This is a great opportunity to meet people and get involved on campus.


Umar Mutwafy

Class of 2022

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Lead ISM

Hey!! My name is Umar Mutwafy, a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering. I was born in Uganda, but grew up in Kenya. Before coming to Rochester, I spent two years completing the International Baccalaureate in Swaziland at the United World College of Southern Africa. Apart from being an International Student Mentor, I am a member of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) and I enjoy playing rugby though I am still recovering from an ankle injury. All of you should be proud and excited to come to University of Rochester, and I am very excited to meet you all.

My Advice:

  1. Please branch out and try out new activities, food, talk to different people and even take fun classes (this is a liberal arts school). The University has many clubs, sports and other opportunities to meet new people and have fun.
  2. On the academic front, you will have tough days, but this is okay, it’s all part of the experience and you will get through it. Just take time to breathe when things get tough.
  3. Take care of yourselves, when things get hard use your friends, your International Student Mentor and the various resources the University has put in place to assist you.


Jade Seguchi

Class of 2022

Major: International Relations

Mentor

Hello everyone! My name’s Jade and I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am a rising junior majoring in international relations with a minor in business. On campus, I am involved with the University of Rochester's UNICEF chapter and Club Tennis. I love the sport, so if you ever want to hit, talk to me! I also adore traveling and learning more about other countries and places. I am very excited to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Talk to people from different backgrounds! Take advantage of the diverse community you are a part of now: make new friends and expand your knowledge.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make use of the resources available around campus, including the professors, TAs, and students - we have all been in your shoes and would gladly help you.
  3. Be prepared for the winter! Wear layers and use the tunnels, they are going to be your best friend during the colder times.


Besmelh Alshaalan

Class of 2023

Major: Computer Science

Mentor

Hello everyone, I'm Besmelh (pronounced Bas-ma-lah)! I'm a sophomore from Saudi Arabia, and I'm majoring in computer science and minoring in DMS (digital media studies), which are both some of my favorite things to do. I enjoy film editing which is why I decided to minor in DMS, I'd usually make videos for class assignments, or just random family videos. I also just started learning how to play the ukulele, and I hope that by the time you're reading this I still didn't give up on it. I hope you get to love it here at UR as much as I did, there usually are a lot of fun activities going on every weekend, so look forward to that! Also, some advice I have for you is:

My Advice:

  1. Make use of the student discounts that you're eligible for in many stores. (UNiDAYS is a great website for student coupons!)
  2. Take some breaks from academics, and try to find some time for yourself. By doing the things you enjoy or joining clubs that interest you, both to have fun and maybe meet new people.
  3. Make use of the many resources offered on campus. Whatever problem you might be facing no matter how big or small there will most probably be someone on campus that will be able to help you.


Sereen Assi

Class of 2021

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Mentor

Hey everyone! I am a rising senior majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in mechanical engineering and cluster in Spanish. I was born and grew up in Ramallah, Palestine, and I also spent a lot of time in Jordan. I also just came back from my semester abroad in Sydney, Australia. I have been involved in different campus activities like the Alpha Phi Omega, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Student Association for the Development of Arab Culture Awareness (SADACA). I am also a Student Alumni Ambassador. In my free time, I love to get out in the city and explore brunch spots in Rochester. So far, I found some of the best places I have ever been to in my life, like Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream. I also love meeting people from different cultures and learning phrases from different languages. So far, I know English, Arabic, some Spanish, some dutch, and some French. I am so excited to meet all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Try things you have never done before! Keep in mind that college is a new experience for everyone so feel free to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Rochester has a huge variety of clubs where you can learn things like Tai Chi, Belly Dancing, Bhangra Dancing, as well as different languages. I never thought that I would end up learning Spanish but after becoming friends with many Spanish speakers, I really liked the language and decided to choose it for a cluster.
  2. Don't be scared to ask for help. Whether you needed help with your classes, mental/physical wellbeing, or academic advising. There are so many resources you can reach out to for help on campus. So many students change their career interests during their first year and it is totally fine! Your course load is designed to make it easy for you to explore your interests in different fields and choose the thing you like the best in the end!
  3. Explore Rochester! Our campus has so much to offer, but the city has even more! Take advantage of weekend shuttles and community weekend activities to get out of campus to shop or get food. The public market is a great place to go to during the weekend, I personally love buying fresh fruits and getting lunch there. The city also has restaurants and museums with discounts for students, make use of this and go to these places during your free time.


Keisha Barrera

Class of 2022

Major: Biology

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Keisha Barrera and I am a rising junior at the University of Rochester, majoring in biology with a minor in psychology. I am Nigerian and Colombian, although I was born and raised in Nigeria. I have also lived in California and Oregon, and I’m excited to be living in New York. Even though moving around can be difficult, I have enjoyed every moment of it and cherish all the memories I have made. I'm super excited to be helping make the transition easier for incoming students. On campus, I am involved with PASA, SALSEROS, and Students Helping Honduras. Next year, I will also be a peer career advisor at the Greene Center. In my free time, I enjoy watching sitcoms and horror movies. I enjoy hiking and drawing, as well. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I know it can be scary and overwhelming, but trying out different clubs is a great way to meet new people and discover things you love.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and utilize the resources on campus.
  3. Have fun! Although school work should be prioritized, you should still make time to relax and enjoy yourself. The year goes by really quickly.


Nilsu Duran

Class of 2023

Major: Computer Science

Mentor

Hello! My name is Nilsu Duran and I'm a rising sophomore from Mersin, Turkey. I am majoring in computer science and minoring in digital media studies with a cluster in psychology. Growing up, I was exposed to a blend of Eastern and Western cultures, which may explain my passion for learning new languages. I also like exploring new places, horror movies, drawing, writing, and playing video games in my free time! On campus, I am involved in Women and Minorities in Computing, and Shotoken Karate. Additionally, I will be the D'Lion for Hoeing 4. I am looking forward to meeting you all. Please feel free to email me your questions, or just to get to know each other more!

My Advice:

  1. Make friends from anywhere! Apart from your ResLife mentors, your hallmates will probably be the first people you'll get to know during orientation. But there will be many other people outside your hall, your class year, etc. Get to know as many people as you can!
  2. De-stress often! Most students here tend to be hard workers, so you may find yourself stressed from time to time. Your time at Rochester is more than just academics, try to get involved with clubs or groups. Don't forget to spend some time doing what you love!
  3. Check your emails! I cannot stress how important this is. Your email box is one vital part of your college experience. Make sure you don't miss a deadline!


Gilbert Giri

Class of 2021

Major: Computational Biology

Mentor

Hey there! I'm Gilbert and I'm a rising senior from Nepal. I'm majoring in computational biology and minoring in mathematics. I'm an avid drinker (of coffee) so you can find me most of the time in Starbucks. I'm a part of the badminton club here and I also love playing basketball. Additionally, I will be a lab TA and study group leader for CSC 161 and I'm also a CETL tutor. I love spending time outside when it's not snowing and I look forward to meeting and going around with you all.

My Advice:

  1. College can be overwhelming at times, especially when you are starting it, so feel free to reach out to your advisers, professors, mentors or friends if you need help with anything. There are here to help!
  2. Even though education might be the first priority for almost all of you, make sure you make some time to do fun activities and go around the city while you can (Winter is coming!).
  3. Most of the opportunities you will hear about will be through emails so DO NOT skip them.


Luiza M. Gruel Budet

Class of 2023

Major: Brain and Cognitive Science

Mentor

Hi there! I am a sophomore from Puerto Rico majoring in brain and cognitive sciences and minoring in music. I love traveling and exploring new places, listening to music, hanging out with friends, reading, and watching movies. My lifetime hobbies are playing the violin and dancing. My favorite extracurricular involvement on campus is being a dance member of Rochester Bhangra. I also work for LEAP, a community outreach program under RCCL, where I tutor kids from the Rochester area. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you just wanna chat!

My Advice:

  1. Get involved on campus! Being involved in extracurricular activities is a great way to make friends, discover new passions, and have fun.
  2. Don't be afraid to reach out for help! College can be very exciting, but scary sometimes. If you feel like you are having a hard time adjusting there are many resources on campus that can be really helpful and can meet your emotional and/or academic needs.
  3. Stay balanced and healthy! Find a good balance between studying, having fun, and making time to relax. This helps with maintaining a good physical and emotional health which are really important.


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Adam Inskip

Class of 2021

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

Hey everyone! My name's Adam and I'm from Wingerworth, UK. I'm a rising senior, majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in computer science. On campus, I've been pretty heavily involved in the Outing Club, Alpha Delta Phi, Class Council, UR Late Night and University IT, and briefly studied abroad in Perth, Australia. I love being outdoors doing everything from hiking to rock climbing. My absolute favourite thing about UR is the students; each and every one of you makes the experience as amazing as it is, and I can't wait to welcome you to the family! I'm always keen to meet new people, so drop me a text or email and say hi!

My Advice:

  1. Say hi to people! You're gonna meet some of the best people of your life here! The more people you meet, the more opportunities you'll get and the more fun you'll have! Seriously, say HI!
  2. Get involved. UR has so many opportunities if you know where to look, and diving head first into academics, clubs, research, sports etc is going to reward you massively. You're here for more than the piece of paper at the end of the four years; make the experience worth it.
  3. Don't take life too seriously. It's easy to look at your peers doing tons of classes and leadership positions and feel that you're not doing enough, but remember you always are. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Be the person that you love for yourself, and everything else will fall into place.


Carol Jerotich

Class of 2022

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

Hello! Welcome to UR! My name is Carol Jerotich. I was born and raised in Kenya. I am a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering. On campus, I am involved with Meliora Fitness and the Engineers Without Borders Club. I am also a research assistant and work as an office assistant for Residential Life in Jackson Court Area Office. I enjoy watching sitcoms during my free time - my favorite show is Modern Family! I am very excited to meet all of you in the fall!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to ask for help-There so many amazing resources on campus that you can utilize.
  2. e open to new experiences - Join exciting new clubs and take part in activities on campus to meet new friends and build meaningful relationships.
  3. Have fun while at it- College can be stressful but try to have balance in your life. Set aside time to relax and unwind.


Saurabh Joshi

Class of 2022

Major: Chemical Engineering

Mentor

Hi everyone and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Saurabh Joshi, but if that is hard to pronounce I also go by just Sorbz. I am from Mumbai, India, but spent a lot of my life living outside India. Rather, I moved around a lot and lived in Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, and India. At UR, I am majoring in chemical engineering and have yet to decide on my clusters. I did, however, take some very interesting political science courses and am considering clustering in it. I also took part in a couple of really interesting clubs ranging from Chem-E Cars to Baja to Club Baseball. Additionally, I love being outdoors and going on hikes and am also an avid golfer. I am really excited to be an ISM this year and really look forward to meeting all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to try something new while you're in college. This can be a new activity or even a new course, but if you never try you'll never know whether or not you actually like it. I feel the UofR is a really safe place for everyone to try new things and I hope you take the time to explore everything the University has to offer.
  2. The winters here can get very cold. I think the most common word that you'll hear during winter is "layers". It is so important to layer up to make sure you are warm and protected from the cold Rochester Winters!
  3. Find a way to balance your time while you are at college. I feel it is important to study hard but it's equally important to block out time in the week where you can just destress by going out with friends or going to the gym.


Brian Jesse Kimani

Class of 2023

Major: Computer Science

Mentor

Hello everyone, and welcome to UR! My name is Brian Jesse Kimani. I am from Nairobi, Kenya and I am a sophomore studying computer science. On campus, I am involved in the Pan African Students Association (PASA) and the PACT, a personal mentoring program. I love playing football, as well as watching and talking about a variety of interesting movies and plays. I am very excited to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Utilize Campus resources! Whether you’re confused about classes, trying to apply for a program, or just looking for advice/ help in dealing with an issue, there are numerous resources available to you as a student and I can assure you there is someone who is willing and ready to offer you the guidance you need for FREE. If you ever have trouble finding a resource, I would gladly point you in the right direction. Just shoot me an email!
  2. Prioritize your mental and physical well-being. College is quite demanding and can be stressful sometimes, but it’s important to strike a balance between your schoolwork and personal life. So, remember to Exercise regularly, meditate, watch a movie once in a while and plan something fun with friends!
  3. I highly recommend joining any club or organization that interests you. It’s one of the easiest ways to find friends you share common interests with and a great way to learn new skills, interact with the greater Rochester community and even practice some of the stuff you learn in class in a more relaxed setting.


Krishni Kumaresan

Class of 2021

Major: Cell and Developmental Biology

Mentor

Hi! My name is Krishni and I am from Plainsboro (near Princeton University), New Jersey, but my family is from Sri Lanka. I am majoring in cell and developmental biology with a minor in chemistry and clusters in psychology and philosophy. On campus, I am involved in the Hindu Students Association, Partners in Reading, Habitat for Humanity, and I am going to be a Genetics Lab (BIO 198P) TA! I used to do independent research at URMC and was a workshop leader for CHM 131 and 132. Outside of school, I love to travel, find the best places to eat, go to museums, cook, and hang out with my friends! I can't wait to meet all of you and help you discover all the resources that UR has to offer!

My Advice:

  1. Always ask for help! There are so many resources at this university and so many people you can talk to about any problem you might have. One of my favorite things about this school is how kind everyone is! I have learned a lot by reaching out to professors, upperclassmen, and other faculty.
  2. I know school can be a lot of work and can cause loads of stress, but always find time for yourself. Join a club or do an activity that can put your mind at ease. Taking breaks is super important! :)
  3. Stay on top of your school work from the very beginning. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.


Yujin Lee

Class of 2021

Major: Psychology

Mentor

Hey guys! My name is Yujin and I am a rising senior majoring in psychology. I'm originally from Korea, but I've spent most of my life in Hong Kong. On campus, I'm the director of programming for Chi Omega, a member of ACF, a research assistant in the emergency medicine department and Smetana's psychology research lab. I love watching documentaries, travelling, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with friends. I can't wait to see all of you guys soon!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to other people! You'll be able to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds that could be your lifelong friend.
  2. Please don't be scared to ask for help. Remember that you're not alone and that you have friends, TAs, professors, and ISM mentors to help you if you're ever feeling lost.
  3. Try to stay healthy throughout the year! Exercise with friends, eat those greens from the dining halls, stay warm during winter, and get enough sleep. It can be tough getting sick during college when you have classes to attend and people to meet so take care of yourself.


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Sam Li

Class of 2023

Major: History

Mentor

Hi everyone! Welcome to University of Rochester! My name is Sam Li and I’m a rising sophomore from Beijing, China. My major is history and I’m considering a double-major in film and media studies. I’ve made four short movies ranging from stop-motion to documentary, and I’m a member of the Undergraduate Film Council, so let me know if you are interested in or want to make movies! Aside from film, I like track and field and soccer. One thing I really enjoy on weekends is going to Pittsford Plaza to have a cup of coffee while reading novels and afterwards, watch a movie in the cinema, of course.

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to connect with people and get involved in different activities. Go ahead and try something new! And don’t be panic when experiencing culture-shocks – take your time, come to us or your friends, and you can always get over them!
  2. If you need support in any kinds, don’t hesitate to reach out to other people. Also, U of R has lots of great resources, like the Writing and Speaking Center, CETL, and the Greene Center for Career. Don’t forget to take advantage of them!
  3. Plan ahead for your assignments and homework. Try to build up a proper schedule and don’t stay up too often! Exercise regularly and eat well to stay healthy. College life can be academically stressful sometime but don’t forget to go outside and enjoy the fresh air a little bit! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you!


Reshul Narhari

Class of 2022

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Mentor

Hello and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Reshul and I am a junior majoring in biomedical engineering. I live in the tropical island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, but am originally from the beautiful city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. I speak both English and Hindi fluently, and enjoy listening to Caribbean Soca music and learning different Indian dance styles. On campus, I am a member of Rochester Bhangra (a competitive Indian folk-dance team), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). When I am not in class or the dance studio, you can catch me studying in PRR or iZone, so come through if you want a study buddy!

My Advice:

  1. Grasp every opportunity that comes your way! Look out for the competitions, clubs and other activities that you can be part of even though it may seem intimidating at first. You may find your new passion or some lifelong friends along the way!
  2. Take care of yourself! College can get stressful but do not forget to take care of yourself by eating healthy, staying active and getting enough sleep! Pulling an all-nighter may seem like the best choice in the moment but trust me, it is not worth it! Your health matters much more in the long run.
  3. Stay in touch with your family back home. In college you will be caught in the whirlwind of staying on track with classes and having an active social life with the new friends you made, so you may often forget about your family. However, nothing has changed for them and they probably miss you a lot. So, don’t forget to occasionally give them a quick call or a cute text to make them know you are doing okay!


Nicholas Ndahiro

Class of 2022

Major: Data Science

Mentor

Hey everyone! My name is Nicholas Ndahiro and I am a soon to be sophomore here at the University of Rochester. I’m from a little country know as Rwanda found right in the heart of the African continent. I am pursuing a degree in data science, with a minor in economics. When I’m not in class or at the library, I enjoy playing soccer, spending time outdoors, and watching movies.

My Advice:

  1. Branch out and explore new interests. Take advantage of the numerous opportunities here at the U of R. Join a new clubs and make new friends.
  2. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Starting life in college can feel overwhelming at times and we’ve all been there, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need anything.
  3. Don’t forget to sleep! Take care of yourself and you’ll only better your U of R experience.


Katrina Nicholas

Class of 2023

Majors: Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Psychology

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Katrina Nicholas and I am in the class of 2023. I am double majoring in brain and cognitive sciences and psychology and minoring in American Sign Language. I am originally from the Rochester area, but my family is from Sri Lanka. On campus, I am a member of Rochester Bhangra (North Indian dance team), ASL Club, a mentoring group called the PACT, and undergraduate research. In my down time, I enjoy binge watching comedy shows so if you have any recommendations, I am always open to hearing them. This is my first year as an ISM and I am super excited to meet you all in August!

My Advice:

  1. Take advantage of all the resources offered at the University! A lot of them are free and tailored specifically towards students. They include everything from academic support, to mental health, and everything in between.
  2. Ask for help if you need it. There are so many people that are in the same boat as you and there are so many people willing to help make your experience ever better. If someone does not have the information you need, they can always guide you to someone who does.
  3. Don't forget to explore the city of Rochester! Being in a new place can be very difficult, but there are so many ways to get to know your new home outside of campus. Rochester has tons of amazing places, so you will be sure to find something you like.


Soo Min Park

Class of 2023

Major: Neuroscience

Mentor

Hi everyone! I’m a sophomore from Korea majoring in neuroscience with a minor in statistics. I love dancing, so I often spend time at Spurrier or O'Brien practice rooms to practice my favorite pieces. Therefore, I would love to hear about your personal or regional dance culture. I am very excited to meet you all so feel free to reach out to me!

My Advice:

  1. Get busy! Participate in events, especially during orientation week to make friends quickly.
  2. Look around! Go around the campus to get familiar with buildings and tunnels for classes.
  3. You're not alone! Don't hesitate to ask for help as lots of resources are available on campus.


Beatriz Pereira

Class of 2023

Major: Psychology

Mentor

Hey guys! My name is Beatriz, but most people call me Bea. I was born and raised in Brazil, but I moved to New Jersey about three years ago. I am majoring in psychology, possibly minoring in film studies, and I am currently on the pre-med track. My greatest passion is playing guitar, but I also love playing sports like soccer and swimming. I’m also a TV show nerd and I love going to Comic-Cons. I absolutely love Rochester and I’m super excited to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. These next four years will be some of the most exciting and scary times of your life. While you will have a lot more freedom than you’ve ever had before, you will also have a lot more responsibilities. Have fun, learn a lot, and don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.
  2. Have an open mind for every experience that comes your way, whether that is in the form of new cultures, new subjects, or new opportunities.
  3. Use the resources available to you, they are incredibly helpful. Whether you need help with writing an essay for your WRT 105 class or you wish to explore opportunities to develop your career, take advantage of what this school provides.


Ruoming Sha

Class of 2022

Majors: Data Science, Business

Mentor

Hello everyone and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Ruoming Sha, and I’m doubling majoring in data science and business, with a minor in music. I am originally from Nanjing, China, but I went to a boarding school in Charlottesville, Virginia. Outside of the classroom, I play club softball, and work on my own start-up website. You can catch me playing squash in the gym, or spending some quality time (not really) in Gleason Library. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you!

My Advice:

  1. You can borrow phone chargers, calculators at the Q&I desk in libraries.
  2. Don’t skip classes if you can. Even if you feel like the lectures are not helpful, there’s most defiantly some information you need.
  3. Eat well, drink lots of water, and exercise! Rochester can be tough in the winter with snow all over the campus, so find your own sunshine.


Andrew Thankson

Class of 2022

Major: Computer Science

Mentor

Hi, My name is Andrew. I am a rising junior at the University of Rochester, majoring in computer science with minors in electrical and computer engineering and philosophy. I am originally from Ghana and I moved to the US for the first time for college, and I must say, it has been an awesome experience so far. There have definitely been ups and downs as there are to everything, but overall it's been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. In my first year, I was involved with UR EcoReps (an initiative that promotes environmental sustainability in first-year dorms). In my second year, I was a First-Year Fellow for Tiernan 1 and also an ISM. I'm an office assistant in the Dean's Office at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a member of the Pan-African Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers and also the Philosophy Council. I enjoy getting to know people and love sharing and learning from others' experiences, so feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk.

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new experiences. Maybe you’re coming in with a plan for how your next 4 years is going to look like or you don’t really know what you want to study in College. You’ve chosen the right college to be at. The University’s open curriculum is a great way to explore other fields you may not know much about and who knows, you might take a keen interest. This actually happened to me. I took a Philosophy class for the first time as a cluster and now I’m planning on getting a minor because I fell in love with a field I never paid attention to previously. This goes for extra-curricular activities too. Try something new, join a club and learn about new things that you might love.
  2. Ask for help! You might not be used to the idea of asking for help because you might have been very smart in high school and would think you can figure out everything for yourself. You may also be used to getting help but don’t know if you can do that here. The University of Rochester, in my opinion, is one of the most supportive. As a first year, you have so many resources from RA’s, D’Lions and Fellows to Academic resources such as CETL, there are a lot of resources that are instituted to help you grow, use them! All these resources are there to help you thrive, I had to learn this the hard way but I hope you will all take my word for it and actually use these resources because they are very receptive and helpful!
  3. Have fun! You’re here to get an education but you can do that everywhere. I believe what makes the U of R special is the diversity on campus and everyone is just so nice and so enthusiastic. I’d encourage you to meet new people, make friends, and do fun things together. I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all, do say hi to me when you’re on campus!


Sofia Troshina

Class of 2023

Major: International Relations

Mentor

Hey everyone and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Sofia, I am a rising sophomore majoring in international relations with minors in business and Japanese. I’m from Russia, but I was an exchange student in California for a year. On campus, I mainly dance with Rice Crew and help fundraise with Liberty in North Korea. By the way, if you want to learn a fun choreography together, please let me know! I’m also passionate about traveling and learning new languages.

My Advice:

  1. Take advantage of those very first days on campus to socialize. It’s a golden opportunity to easily meet a lot of amazing new people. And don’t be shy! I promise, all of you are in the same exact position.
  2. Don’t stress about finding your “place” within campus life just yet. Let it come to you naturally. The best thing you can do is pursuing activities you genuinely enjoy doing, like joining a favorite dance crew or running for student government. And then everything will fall into place!
  3. Overstraining yourself first semester is not a great idea. I say, let yourself have it easier. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to overwork, overstudy, and get overly stressed in the following semesters. Just enjoy getting used to campus life and bonding with peers this time around!


Panzhen Wu

Class of 2022

Majors: Music, Mathematics

Mentor

Welcome to the UR family! My name is Panzhen Wu, but please call me Panpan. I am from Shenzhen, China, a chill place to visit, and am majoring in music and mathematics with a minor in philosophy. My great interests are music, math, films, animals, and photography. I have actively participated in Xclusive Step Team, Beat Box Collective, SAVVY, and the Society of Physics Students. Besides that, I enjoy reaching out to all kinds of unlimitedly available resources offered on- and off-campus. Also, remember to explore other amazing vibes in the city of Rochester. Getting involved creates a sense of belonging, while cross-cultural experiences offer multidisciplinary perspectives of thoughts. I am in deeply in love with UR and I believe you will feel the same way on this campus.

My Advice:

  1. Embrace yourself. I’ve had some depressed days during the semester. I knew it’s okay to feel not okay during tough days and I realized how much people need others to share their happiness and sadness. I am here to hear your voice.
  2. Create several keywords as the themes of your activities for each semester. For example, I had “Stepping (African American Dance), Vegetarianism, and Children Education” for my first semester, “Christianity, Beat Box, and Song Writing” for my second semester. I am here for the suggestions of inspiring TED talks, podcasts, books, and films to create your own special and fulfilling experiences.
  3. Commit to your passion. Don’t push yourself too hard in time management and what I believe is activity management. Meeting the people you like and devoting wisdom to the things that are most inspiring to you would be helpful to find yourself. I am here to listen to your thoughts.


Haozhou (Paul) Xia

Class of 2021

Major: Financial Economics

Mentor

Hi everyone! Welcome to University of Rochester! My name is Haozhou (Paul) Xia and I am a rising senior majoring in financial economics. I am originally from Suzhou, China. I transferred to UR in my sophomore year. Currently, I am working as an undergraduate research assistant in the economics department. Outside of school, I love traveling, skiing and hanging out with my friends. My suggestion is to know more new people and always be open to different new things. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any help. Looking forward to meeting with you all soon!

My Advice:

  1. Always open to the new things. Try to meet more people and take part in more activities.
  2. Use the school resources. Writing center, College Center for Advising Services, Career Center and many other resources are always open to you. Ask them if you need help.
  3. Explore the city! Rochester has so many interesting restaurants and cool activities to do. Watch a performance in Eastman Theater when you are free!


Lyrica Yanaway

Class of 2022

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

Hello all! My name is Lyrica and I am very excited to meet everyone this fall. I am from Connecticut, where I have lived my whole life. I love reading, swimming, traveling, and getting to know new people. On campus, I work for Event Support and am also involved with Todd Theater, Grassroots and Sihir Bellydance Ensemble. I'm very excited to be part of the ISM team this year!

My Advice:

  1. Try and say yes to new opportunities as they arise. Even if it is just going to the dining hall with a new group of people, or joining a club you might not have otherwise considered, you never know what you might gain.
  2. Quitting is not a bad thing. It is not worth continue with a class or club that isn't benefiting you. Never be afraid to prioritize you own health and well-being above your other commitments.
  3. There are no rules. You will be given an incredible amount of freedom in college, and it is up to you to do what you like with it. Remember to make good choices and take care of yourself and your friends. The rest is up to you!


Estelle Yu

Class of 2023

Major: Microbiology

Mentor

Hello everyone! My name is Estelle and I’m a rising sophomore, majoring in microbiology and minoring in psychology and Latin. My family is from South Korea, but I’ve spent most of my life in Canada before moving to the U.S. I am a part of the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society and GlobeMed and a volunteer at the UR Strong Memorial Hospital. I look forward to meeting you all and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Reach out to professors, TAs, faculty members, upperclassmen, etc. There is always someone who is willing to help.
  2. Have an open mind and try new things! You’re about to meet new people from all corners of the world. I’d encourage you to step out of your bubble and take advantage of the diverse community you are a part of now.
  3. Get involved as much as possible because the opportunities here are endless! But don’t forget to know your limits! Join clubs and find the one that best suits you. It’s also a great way to connect with mentors and meet new friends!