I really had no idea this would happen. Two weeks ago, I posted on the SA Collaborative Blog that I was interested in Mentoring Student Affairs Grads, sharing an idea to connect the #sachat and #sagrad community in an organized way. Since then, I have connected 62 professionals and 62 graduate students together over email, with 18 more professionals still passionately interested in being involved! Totally.Blown.Away.
It got me thinking:
Student Affairs is Grown Through Mentoring
I have been fortunate to have had many amazing mentors in my Student Affairs career. Each of them taught me something different and have helped me become the professional I am today. It only made sense that many members of the #sachat community reached out to help and really wanted to connect with a current graduate student. An unwritten rule in my Student Affairs world has always been that you pay that “mentoring” forward, to grow our profession and propel it forward.
Speaking of “growing the profession”, this is how the #saGROW hashtag came to be. I knew that as I was pairing folks up, I wanted to capture what they were learning to be shared for all of us to follow and grow from. The past two weeks have produced a number of interesting tweets that made me smile, knowing that connections had been made. Whether you are formally involved or not, I hope you will consider contributing to this ongoing conversation.
Anyone Can Be A Mentor or Mentee
The SA Collaborative Blog’s mantra, “In our classroom, everyone is a teacher”, helped guide me as this evolved. As I viewed both lists, I was pleased to see a wide variety of engaged participants. Beyond whom I thought would sign up, there were some surprises. Some were undergrads interesting in starting the search process early; some wanted to be both mentored and serve as a mentor; and even a few mentors did not work at Higher Education institutions! What I was most pleased to see, ironically, is that there were some who weren’t on Twitter who stepped forward to help. It was truly a great cross section from the Student Affairs community!
Some of the mentors tweeted and emailed me for advice on “how” to be a Mentor and run their #saGROW conversations:
1. Have a “Regularly” Scheduled Time To Meet: When speaking with your #saGROW mentee for the first time, find a regular schedule that works for both of you and put it in your calendars. Follow through on those meetings and be willing to try going beyond a phone call and use Skype!
2. Topics of Conversation: This will all depend on what type of help the #saGROW mentee is looking for and how you both decide to structure, or unstructure, your conversation. This will certainly become more evident with each meeting you have. Share your experiences and opinions and what you have learned in your career.
3. Have FUN: Networking should be fun! Take this opportunity to teach and to learn, and know that you are making a difference!
With almost 500 views of my original post, I know there are still many of you out there that want to be involved. If you are still interested in being an #saGROW mentor, click here. If you are a graduate student or someone interested in being having an #saGROW mentor, click here. I am happy to pair you all up!
Deep down, I hope that this idea inspires two things:
1. #saGROW Mentors: Step forward and contribute your ideas to our growing online Student Affairs community.
2. #saGROW Mentees: When you are ready, pay it forward, and serve as a Mentor to someone who wants one.
What other advice would you give the #saGROW Mentors and Mentees? How else can we mirror the things we do in Student Affairs, online?