Alumni Spotlight: Meet Nima
Name: Nima S.
School: Colorado Mesa University
Aspiration: My aspiration is to become a successful Physician Assistant, travel the world, and give back to my community and the world in whichever way I can
1. How have you continued to integrate core values and life skills instilled from SOS?
Even as a 20-year-old, I still use my SOS core values, courage, discipline, integrity, compassion, wisdom, and humility. I integrate these core values into all aspects of my life from my classes to my family to my friends to anything and everything. SOS Outreach taught me to possess these values not only through the program but also through my life and use it as a life skill. The main life skill SOS instilled in me is to give back to my community in any which way I can. Giving back to the community isn’t just a good thing to do but it also makes you a better person.
2. How has SOS helped guide you to where you are today?
I will 100% say this with all my heart that I would not be the person I am today without SOS. I started SOS in third grade when I barely spoke any English. The only thing I knew to do was ski with my friends and make memories. While making these memories and growing up with the program, SOS taught me that I can be a leader and shine at times I feel right to do so. However, it is also okay to let my peers be the leaders and have them shine in their own ways. Today I try living in the present and doing the very best that I can in everything I pursue.
3. Do you have a particular memory from your time as aN SOS Outreach Peer mentor that you can tell us about?
I think it was my second year being a Peer Mentor for SOS when the mentor was absent due to personal issues. That day there was no one else available to sub in so I was asked to take the group if I felt comfortable. It was quite scary at first because here I have a group of teens who are not much younger than me just looking at me for guidance. So, I quickly began the ride day by communicating well with them about our plans, where to stop, where to go if we get lost, etc. It was a lot for a 16-year-old to take on, but I am proud of myself for taking on that challenge.
4. Can you further explain how you searched for Universities and scholarships when you were in High School?
I am a first-generation college student in my family; meaning both my parents never went to college. So, being the first one in my family to go to college, I had to figure out the process of Universities, scholarships, and how everything worked. It was a very confusing and difficult process, but it wasn’t impossible. Even though my dad had absolutely no idea about college, universities, scholarships, etc. He went out of his way by asking his peers and co-workers about the process. He would then explain to me his findings and how we could work on it. I’m so thankful for my dad because he told me one thing before we started our plan. He told me, “I will never push you to do anything you aren’t passionate about and I will never tell you who to be or what to be. All these choices will come from you and your decisions and no matter what I will support you in the best way that I can. All I ask is that you communicate with me and update me on your thoughts and feelings.”
As a teenager that is the most comforting thing to hear your parents say and it really motivated me to seek my future out. I made appointments with my counselors, communicated with my teachers, mentors, friends, and cousins for guidance. I applied for any and all scholarships because all the chances I didn’t take were chances that were forever gone. Today I can proudly say that I was awarded the Guardian Scholarship, a 4-year tuition, room, and board scholarship at Colorado Mesa University. I am very lucky and proud to be a Guardian scholar because I never thought that I would even attend college and here I am today almost finishing my bachelor’s degree. I could not have gotten this far without the support of my mom and dad, my mentor from SOS, Jessica Foulis, my cousins, friends, and SOS Outreach.
5. What advice/insight do you have for current SOS participants?
My advice and insight to current SOS participants is to take full advantage of the opportunities SOS provides you. Go to every ride day, go camping, rock-climbing, hiking, meeting, etc. Make memories with your peers and mentors and just have fun. The peers, mentors, and connections you make in SOS are people that really care about you and want you to succeed. Also don’t forget to be a kid and enjoy all that life has to offer you because if you are in a hurry to grow up, time will pass quickly, and you will regret the choices you made in your past.