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Mustaf Mohamed


What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?  Tell us about your story, and what you think has helped you succeed so far at UP?

To be the first in my family to go to college makes me feel very great. It means a lot to my family that I am able to do this and it means a lot to me. In my entire life time prior to coming to the united states I live in refugee camps, so I could never have dreamed of something like this happening for me. I am very proud of myself and I am very thankful for this opportunity. College is difficult, what helps me not give up and continue to try my best is that my mom worked hard to bring me to the United States and now it is up to me to make something of this tremendous opportunity I have been given. Also we have great resources at this university that help students when they are struggling and I have taken advantage of these resource over my two years here at the University of Portland.

What does it mean for you to be a part of the FGEN community and to be a FGEN Student Ambassador at UP?

For me to be part of the FGEN community means that I am in a community that is going to support me and support others who are going through what I go through in college. Being an FGEN student ambassador shows me that I am not alone and that what I experience are not unique to me and that I can use these experiences to help other students persevere through any obstacles that they may face. This makes me delighted because other people have helped me and I want to help others.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

The first to remember that these challenges are normal and that we chose to take this path and that it comes with many difficult obstacles. Than also it good to remember that we are not alone and that we have a community that we can rely on. There are many students that are more than willing to you out and the faculty here at UP are also amazing because they want to see you succeed, so look for people that can help you and do not let yourself suffer so much that it affects your health.

Has a mentor played a role in your experience at UP?  How so?

I have had many mentors in my time so far. One of my mentors during my freshmen year scheduled a meeting with me every other week and we discussed just how I was doing and how I was handling things. These meeting help me so much because I was able to be direct to resources that I needed. Also just have a person to share with the things I struggled with help me not become stress by all the new things happening around me.

What resources have been significant, meaningful, or helpful for you during your UP experience?

The STEP counselor in the School of Engineering has helped me a lot, dealing with things I perceived as failure as well as stages in my UP career that made me feel great stress. The Shepherd Academic Resource center has also helped me sort things out. Finally the tutoring in the Learning Commons has helped me with difficult problems on my homework, presentations and editing papers. I have also used the Career Center to get my resume edited and the Health and Counseling Center when I became sick my freshmen year.

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