Nick Lee is an Instructional Assistant at American River College in Sacramento, California. He graduated in 2016 from the University of California, Merced with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Writing. Nick is striving to develop student success for first generation college students by working in programs that assist in student success, and plans to continue his passion for assisting students by pursuing a master’s degree in education.

At UC Merced, Nick joined the Fiat Lux Scholars Program in hopes he would succeed as a first generation college student. He applied and was hired to be a Community Scholar for the program. As a Community Scholar, Nick lived within the residence halls and acted as a peer mentor. In the subsequent year, he applied and was hired to be a Lead Scholar for the program, serving as a peer mentor, peer advisor, and peer counselor while holding office hours for students. Over the course of one semester, Nick has spoken to 45 students during office hours. Nick has also planned and facilitated various workshops, such as a public speaking and study habits workshop, in order to assist students in achieving success. On average, the workshops Nick has hosted has seen an average of 15 to 20 students attend. In the following year, Nick was promoted to be a Student Coordinator for the program, serving as a peer mentor and peer advisor for scholars and student staff. Nick has organized training days and topics for incoming and continuing student staff members while also leading weekly team meetings.

Nick’s passion for writing was rediscovered when he took the Writing 10: Reading and Composition course. During his second year at UC Merced, he declared his minor for writing. While his passion for writing continued, Nick took the opportunity to pioneer the Fiat Lux Scholars Program’s monthly Newsletter, serving as an editor, writer, and designer. During Fall of 2014, Nick applied for the Instructional Assistant position for the Merritt Writing Program in hopes of assisting students and continuing his passion for writing. As an Instructional Assistant, Nick has been entrusted to assist professors of an assigned Writing 10 course while also hosting tutoring services at the Writing Center. In 2016, Nick’s creative writing piece, Dear Mr. Comma, was published to the UC Merced Merritt Writing Program’s journal, The Vernal Pool.

After UC Merced

Nick currently serves as an Instructional Assistant in the Reading Across the Disciplines (R.A.D) and the Writing Across the Curriculum (W.A.C.) program at American River College. He provides strategies for reading and overall student success in the R.A.D. program and provides writing consultations in the W.A.C program. Nick hopes to pursue his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at California State University, Sacramento to learn about and apply student success in a K-12 school setting. His lifelong career goal is to serve as a Principal for a K-12 school.

Be sure to check out Nick’s LinkedIn Page 

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5 Tips To Follow For Your First Week of College

This post was originally submitted on 17 October 2015 on Dear First Generation Students. The original post can be found here.

Your first week of college will probably be a twister of emotions, experiences, headaches, and names! From moving in and seeing your family go back home to meeting brand new people. The first week of college can be either a pleasant one or an unpleasant one filled with confusion, awkwardness, or even great memories. So, here are 5 tips that I’ve provided to help you push through your first week of college.

Tip #1: Introduce yourself. Now, for those living off-campus, it may be difficult but you can always find ways to introduce yourself at events. For those living on-campus, it becomes easier because you’ve been given an advantage. You live with other people! First, accept the fact that you’ll forget names, but don’t be afraid to ask others for their names again. You can even be sneaky and ask them for their name, and when they mention it, just let them know you wanted to know their last name. Don’t be afraid to go around your residential halls and knock on doors and introduce yourself. A simple, “my name is and I am from this place, majoring in this subject. What about you?” Anyone and everyone you see, just say hi and introduce yourself.

Tip #2: Go to every event possible. Along with introducing yourself, you definitely want to join in on the events happening around campus. Go to the college’s Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or even look at their website. Chances are, they may be promoting some sort of event. Go to these events! Introduce yourself! There may be a possibility that a person you meet at these events could help you during your college journey, whether they’ve been at the college for several years or just starting out, just knowing you’re not alone can help you in the long-run; you can journey the experience together.

Tip #3: Explore the town/city. You may come across a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or a great shopping outlet. There will be times later in your college journey where you may want to go out and have fun, or watch a movie, or just unwind somewhere. Exploring the town at the very beginning can help you find a place of entertainment such as the movie theaters, or just a personal place where you can de-stress.

Tip #4: Variety can help in the long haul. Being adventurous, trying new things, or just stepping out of your comfort zone can help you build yourself as an individual and as a student. Rather than sticking to what looks good at the Dining Hall, try something new! Go to an event that you could never imagine going to—maybe it’s karaoke night! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It’ll be difficult at first, but trying to do so at the very beginning can ease the process later on.

Tip #5: Explore the campus! Even if you explored the campus during orientation or move-in day, explore it again! Do a dry run to classes. See how long you need to take to walk, run, or take the bus to class. Make sure you know where all your classrooms are. This way, once classes start, you won’t look like that person who’s pacing back and forth trying to find their classroom.

These are my 5 tips for the first week of college. What do you think? What can you add to the list?

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Coming Up With Story Ideas

Original Image: Disability Thinking (

We all have hundreds of thousands of ideas for imaginative stories, but the moment we sit down to write, they somehow disappear. Or sometimes you across a great book or a movie and you think to yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?” Writing a good story is one thing, but coming up that story idea, you’re entering a whole different world. So the question is: how do I come up with a great story idea, or just an idea to write about?

Read: Coming Up With Story Ideas

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The Brave Little Spud

About the Piece

The Brave Little Spud is a written speech from the point of view of a couch potato describing the art of relaxation and taking care of oneself. The speech criticizes how individuals forget to relax while praising the overall idea of being a couch potato, or a spud in this case, as not a bad idea as individuals need to find time to relax and be lazy. Enjoy the read!

Read: The Brave Little Spud

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My Hometown

About the Piece

The following piece is a descriptive narrative of my hometown, in which I describe the surroundings, the community, and overall living situation. The purpose of this piece is to really try to understand my “home” and find ways to make it better for future generations. Enjoy the read!

Read: My Hometown

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Monologue: To My Friend

About this Piece

To My Friend is a monologue/eulogy given by a fictional character on the death of his best friend, Thomas. Both characters met in the 3rd grade and experienced bullying in school as they aged. The death of Thomas is ruled as a suicide and the character now relives the memories of his best friend through this short monologue. The character also reveals key reasons as to why the characters were bullied and what led to the suicide. The original monologue was written in a Play-writing Course at UC Merced. As a WARNING, this piece may be a bit explicit towards the end of the monologue. Enjoy the read!

Read: To My Friend

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