E-Newsletter Special: Reflecting on My Experience as a Milken Scholar

Written by Benjamin Sorkin | 12/20/2018

Thinking back to this winter season three years ago, my high school self could have never imagined the impact a single application would have on my college experience.  Besides the information I gleaned from the Milken Scholars Program website, I really did not know much about the organization that I would eventually refer to as “the family.”  Fast forward to December 18, 2018.  I just took a freshman Scholar out for a mentee-meal last week, and the Milken Scholars New York Holiday Dinner is two weeks ahead. Now is the perfect time of year to reflect on what the Milken Scholars Program has meant to me.

As an incoming freshman at Harvard, I was not sure what I was in for as a newly minted member of the Scholars family. My assigned mentor, 2014 Milken Scholar William Oh, became an indispensable resource, a trusted counselor, and an instant friend the first chance I had to meet with him, and I cannot imagine my time at Harvard without this meaningful relationship. Whether it was coaching me through a student government campaign, getting me through a season of challenges, or just pulling me out of the library during finals to grab Chipotle, the mentorship element of the Milken Scholars Program made my first year a period of thriving, not just surviving. Being able to pay that investment back as a mentor for two years running now has brought me nothing but absolute joy, and I encourage all of my fellow Scholars to give mentoring a shot if they have not already. I have also made an effort to extend my involvement in the Program beyond just my mentee. I have strived to meet as many of the new first-year Scholars as possible.  This outreach has enriched my year by allowing me to share in their excitement of just starting college.  It has also allowed me to guide new members of the family along their journey.

Knowing that I will always have a support network, group of friends, and fellow Scholars new and old(er) back home, away at school, or rooting for me across the country has made the Milken Scholars Program indispensable. The resources, financial support, and career opportunities are always helpful, but it is the Scholars, Alumni, and staff in the Milken family that truly make the Milken Scholars Program shine. As we close out this academic year, I hope all of us can remember that even in our highs and our lows—when being back home is amazing or when it is not quite perfect, when our GPAs are through the roof or when finals did a number on us—the family is always here for us. Happy Holidays to the Milken family and may 2019 bring you nothing but joy and fulfillment!

B. Sorkin Photo Collage 2

Left Image: Ben Sorkin, MS '16, (center) receiving the Mentor Award in 2018, with his mentor, William Oh, MS '14, (left) and his mentee, Mohib Jafri, MS '17 (right). William Oh, MS '14, received the Mentor Award the previous year. Right Image: Mohib Jafri, MS '17, with Ben Sorkin, MS '16.


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