Happy Thanksgiving from SRA Rising Star, Ivan

Applying to colleges seemed so long ago, all the feelings of anxiety, doubt, and excitement. Four years ago I had been accepted to Students Rising Above, I had gone to the summer retreat, and I met with my advisor a couple of times, still largely unaware to the extent that Students Rising Above would play in my life and college career then. My couple of meetings with my advisor to work through applications had been very insightful and helpful. I was already very appreciative of my advisor after being supported and validated through a time when being vulnerable was something very new to me. 

Mid-November, my advisor, Sarah Miers, sent me an evite for her SRA Thanksgiving. Naturally, I was super excited because Thanksgiving is one of my favorite excuses to eat all the mashed potatoes, stuffing, ham (not a huge turkey fan), and other comfort food that I can. When I think about it more though, Thanksgiving is a reminder of better times in my life. My mom was always adamant of making Thanksgiving happen every year and because of that some of my fondest and oldest memories are being around the table with my loved ones through the years. 

So because of that, being able to share a Thanksgiving meal with the Mier’s family was the start of something special to me. Only myself and Emma (another SRA student) showed up to the dinner the first year as everyone else had something come up. I got to meet her kids and husband for the first time and feel apart of their family.

The next year, the evite rolled around and I went. This time new and old students gathered around her table to talk about our lives and enjoy a meal together. Her kids had grown even more in the course of a year.

Unfortunately the third year, I was studying abroad and missed out on the annual dinner. We ended up having dinner with my sister another time, and that’s when I realized that it wasn’t necessarily the Thanksgiving dinner that made it special. Rather it was the act of her inviting us into her home and family, making memories, and breaking bread that had made those dinners special.

Sarah was my advisor, but through her extra care and commitment to bring her students into her life, she became more. An advisor, a mentor, a trusted friend, and family. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Sarah!