With Fall Quarter 2020 coming to a close, the First Things First students connect with their faculty mentors over Zoom once again. Together, each student-faculty pair reflect on the quarter, discuss how faculty can improve remote teaching, and offer suggestions to help UCI students make the most of online learning.

Leon and Prof. Pavan Kadandale

In their Week 10 Zoom meeting, Leon and Prof. Kadandale discuss a range of topics including the difference between high school and UCI and tips for improving study methods. They also reflect on their experience with the First Things First project and end the call by giving students advice on making the most of the remote learning environment moving forward.

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Gretta and Prof. Casavantes Bradford

In her Week 10 call with Prof. Casavantes Bradford, Gretta reflects on her first quarter at UCI. Together, they also get real when talking about the intensity and challenges of the quarter system. Gretta also flips the switch and offers her best suggestions to help faculty improve their courses and be better mentors to students.

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The First Things First project is an evolution of UCI’s First-Generation Faculty Initiative, designed to help first-gen students overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic. This new “virtual” mentorship program pairs two incoming UCI first-gen students with first-gen faculty members for a year-long, social-media-distributed conversation about the transition to university life. The goal of First Things First is to help UCI’s entire first-gen population, as well as first-gen students throughout higher education, build a sense of community—even in this remote college environment. To further this project, we invite you to share this article on your social media channels and with your network.