Wow. Is it really my turn to be a mentor??

In LAS, we value relationships. We know that it’s essential to have strong connections with one another to learn and grow as young individuals, especially when you’re a freshman like me. Every year, the current freshman LAS cohort gets to take one (or more – yes there’s twins) incoming LAS scholar as a mentee.

I can remember this time last year, when I was a senior in high school, I was freaking out every day wondering when I was going to find out who my mentor was. We like to be very extra in LAS so typically the mentor devises an extravagant “mentee reveal” as a way to reveal ourselves to our mentee. James, my mentor, was super creative and wrote a series of LOTR riddles that I had to solve to find out who he was. He knew me so well! Here I am now, currently trying to find the most perfect way to tell my mentee I’m their mentor… am I over thinking it? Probably. Does it have to be the most memorable event in my mentee’s life? Absolutely.

James was the perfect mentor for me. Other than leaving the country and studying abroad in England this semester (super happy for you but come back James, I miss you), he was someone I could go to for anything. I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with him at football games or randomly stopping by his room just to talk. He made my first year at college WAY easier and encouraged me through everything I did. It is now my mission to be the perfect mentor for my mentee, just as James was.

In a previous blog titled “Making CONNECTIONS”, I wrote about a session I attended on how to be an effective mentor. I learned that in the beginning of the relationship an expectation of feedback needs to be established between the mentor and mentee. I need to know what my mentee wants; whether it’s someone to just listen or someone to offer advice. Often times I try to fix the problem that a friend has brought to me instead of sitting back and just listening. Having meaningful and authentic conversations is something that I want to focus on so I can better understand my mentee. This session was the only teaching I had about mentorship before going through the mentor workshop in LDR 200. Most of what we learned in the workshop was similar to the session at Connections Conference except that it was more CMU focused. In a small group, we wrote down goals for ourselves as a mentor and how we were going to achieve them. We also asked ourselves what we wished we knew going into our first year of college. The workshop brought up several things I hadn’t really thought about like what I want to get out of being a mentor. For this question, I wrote down “Being the ‘bigger sis’ I’ve never been.” As the youngest child, I’ve never really experienced how it feels to be a role model that someone can look up to. I think being the youngest has actually served me well because I know what good role models look like as well as bad role models. I am most excited to be that ‘bigger sister’ in someone’s life who they feel comfortable to go to for anything. I know how intimidating and overwhelming the transition from high school to college can be, my job is to make sure my mentee has more than they need to have the best first year of college.

The most important aspect to take away from the workshop is that all of us mentors need to be there for all of the mentees. It is our responsibility as a cohort to get these students through their first year of college. It is my goal to be an approached mentor for any of the incoming freshman to go to.

Hopefully my mentee loves me as much as I love her/him! In LAS, we believe in hard-core social media stalking and I must say, the more I learn out about my mentee the more I can’t wait to meet her/him. Prior to next fall, I plan on continuing to learn how I can be the most effective mentor by asking James how his first year as a mentor went and what he wished he could do differently. Good news is that I have all summer to get to know my mentee and build a relationship before next year!

Dear Mentee, be prepared for an exciting, awesome first year of college! I have a feeling you’re going to love CMU and LAS just as much as I do. ♥

[pics of James and me at the LAS Retreat!]

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