Testimonial - Margaret Maxwell
My name is Margaret Maxwell, I am a first-generation college freshman that participated
in the Upward Bound Program. Although my parents did not pursue higher education,
they instilled in me that it is the key to success. My parents taught me to value
each and every opportunity I am presented with that will make me better, and Upward
Bound improved my trajectory greatly.
I was fortunate to be able to participate in the summer component. During that time, I met students with similar aspirations as myself, from different backgrounds, as well as gained experience in a university setting. The program, in its entirety, assisted me in assimilating into the college setting.
Academically, we covered a broad spectrum of the college like courses. The classes took place in auditorium styled classes, where professors paced and ensured that we all gained the skills necessary to work in a fast paced setting. Problem solving activities, as well as open debates, allowed us to learn about one another and our values from a perspective deeper than name and appearance. We were allowed to openly express our opinions and use supporting evidence from our personal lives and the information we had acquired, for our debates. We also strengthened the skills of respecting opinions that differ from ours regardless of agreeableness.
Our professors were from different cultures, a lot like what I've heard of college professors, and were knowledgeable on many different subjects. The professors and Upward Bound staff taught us a lot about being open minded and respectful of all in ways I hadn't fully considered before. As a group, we learned the importance of being accepting of individuals from different backgrounds than ourselves. The culture of the group was like a melting pot. Although we came from the same and different schools, there were a lot of differences among us, which was an interesting encounter knowing I'd be experiencing this same newness in the fall. Because we had similar goals, we were able to learn from one another even with our differences. This experiences definitely pushed us out of our comfort zones, for the better.
As an individual, I grew to be a more independent thinker and increasingly accepting to the opinions of others, despite the fact that I disagreed. This wasn't a problem from me before, but definitely a skill I needed improvement in. I became more aware of people's different experiences in life that shape the ways they see the world. Because of this, I was also able to strengthen my own view points. I gained a new sense of patience. In high school, classes are occasionally mixed up, forcing interaction between different age groups, however, because of honors and accelerated courses, I was rarely involved in this environment. I had experience in dealing with peers younger than me, because of leadership positions, but not learning alongside them. Upward Bound taught me to adapt my learning pace in order to allow the classroom to better benefit me and my learning style.
The most helpful thing for me, was I gained a ton of help from the Coordinator and Success Coaches. Although I am usually very busy with school and getting business done, it was easy to get distracted this summer. They made sure me and the other incoming college students got everything we needed taken care of. They assisted with enrollment, financial aid, and connecting us with social organizations that would assist with our assimilation. They helped us in every way they knew how or placed us in a network with someone who could. In my opinion, The University of Memphis, Upward Bound is a great program that gets all of their students prepared for the college experience. They encourage and guide students in considering different perspective when deciding whether college is a path they want to pursue. The Upward Bound program is definitely a great opportunity for any person afforded it.