Written by Linda Dillon on July 7, 2021
Linda is a 4th year MFOS scholar double majoring in International Studies and Foreign Languages and Literatures. She also serves as a student assistant within the MFOS Office
Getting accepted into the University of Florida was exhilarating, and the cherry on top was being offered to be in the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. It was a sign of relief knowing that there would be a team that would be supporting me through this new and confusing journey of becoming a college student. As a first-generation student, I was unsure if I would fit in with students that grew up talking about their parents’ college memories and college football. I felt unfamiliar with higher education as a culture and life-changing experience. These worries disseminated when I thankfully stepped into the MFOS family.
The MFOS team and my peer mentors led me to understand the ins and outs of not only how to survive, but also how to thrive and make the most out of the college experience. The financial support and community aspects that come from MFOS are impactful, especially through the peer mentoring program.
In my second year, I decided to volunteer and give back to this great program by becoming a peer mentor. Without even knowing, this is where I met my closest friends at UF. We come from all different backgrounds and families, yet what connects us is our similar experiences of feeling emotionally overwhelmed as incoming first-year students. I enjoyed helping our new scholars because I was able to support them based on their individual needs.
My journey with MFOS continues as I am now a student assistant at the MFOS office working closely with my fellow classmate and MFOS scholar, Alyssa Wiles. Now being in a position where I am closer with the MFOS team, I feel that I am directly impacting scholars’ involvement and investment in MFOS and UF. Working with Alyssa, we have brainstormed and helped organize multiple MFOS events as well as, kept up with the peer mentor program.
I love that I have become close with MFOS, they are like a second family to me. I want to continue strengthening and building new connections with all scholars and as I am coming into my final year here at UF, I want to keep my most valued connections even after graduating.