Jaylyn Burns: CollegeSpring Alumna and Summer 2014 Mentor
More than most other mentors this summer, Jaylyn Burns (right) was especially well qualified to embody CollegeSpring’s culture: Jaylyn participated as a student in CollegeSpring’s 2012 summer program at Envision Academy in Oakland. Now a sophomore at UC Merced, she shared with us about her experiences as both a student and a mentor:
College Spring came to my high school when I was going into my senior year and I felt that it was a really beneficial program, not only because it helped me with my SAT skills, but mainly because of the relationships that I formed with the mentors. They really helped encourage me to do better for my senior year and made me excited about college because of the stories that they would tell me about their experiences. I found it exhilarating and very beneficial to gain new friends and network with people that were already in college and could give me a better perspective of what to really expect, which was different from what teachers and admin regularly tell you.
After that experience, I knew that if the opportunity was ever presented to me to work for this program, I would take full advantage and apply immediately. I felt that coming from the same background as many of the students that I would be working with, I had a better perspective on the challenges that they face and I could help really motivate them to want to go to college.
During my time as a mentor for CollegeSpring what I enjoyed most was the enthusiasm my students would show in their will to learn. After they started to see their hard work pay off in their diagnostic scores, they were determined to try and get higher than the other mentor groups in the class. My favorite memory from CollegeSpring was the day my students scores went up and they were second in the class mentor group competition. I could see in their eyes they were even more excited to learn and win this competition.
My strengths as a mentor were my positive energy and willingness to help, as well as my silliness when it was time to have fun and my stern direction when it was time to get back to work and be serious. I think they appreciated my rapping skills most of all!
What I appreciate most about the CollegeSpring program is that they are concerned enough about students in low socio-economic communities to put this extra class in during the summer to help us level the playing field just a bit more coming to college applications. This program helped make a difference in my life because it helped me understand what I really want to do in the future, and that is help those younger than me get ahead in life and help the youth in my community get a fair chance at a higher education.