Whenever I am asked about my decision to go into student affairs I always explain how my experiences in undergrad really sold me, but that my experiences would not have been possible without my mentors. So really, in all honesty, I should respond with my mentors because they had a huge impact on not only guiding me through college, but also helping me get the experiences I wanted to help me find my fit. Mentors, to me, are kind of like the bread and butter of a college experience. They are there to not tell you what to do, but help you think critically about the various options available to you as a student.
For me, I was very fortunate to be at a small enough institution where I had several mentors who helped me really figure out my life. When I say figure out my life, I really do mean figure out my life. I was getting an English Writing degree because I love to write, but also because it is a versatile degree (or so I was told), but I had no idea what I could do with it after graduation. It was sophomore year that I actually started looking into student affairs as a viable option for a career and it was also the year that I met Courtney who would become my official NASPA Fellows mentor. Before my sophomore year, I had other mentors, but they weren’t my mentor through any kind of program or anything. We had just connected and, well, the rest is history. The same thing happened with Courtney, we just took it to the next level and became an official mentor/mentee duo. I was also just very fortunate to have several people to go to when I needed help, especially being a first-generation college student.
The help and guidance I received as an undergrad has really helped me in my graduate journey when I am approached by some of the students I have become close with about something concerning them. In fact, one of my “side-hustles” is being a Trojan Talk mentor for my high school alma mater. Once a month, I go into a homeroom class and talk about various topics with a group of about 20-25 high school students ranging form 10th-12th grade. Most of these students will be first-generation college students, so I love that not only am I able to give back to my community, but really help these incoming college students by preparing them for college, vocational school, or whatever they are choosing to do after high school.
I enjoy helping others figure out what they want to do and guiding them to experiences that can only benefit them. I guess I learned that from my mentors. I’m sure everyone in this field has someone who was (and probably still is) a mentor to them. Let me end this post by saying thank you to my mentors and encouraging all of you who read this to take a minute and send a quick thank you to your mentors. You never know, it could really make their day!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Dave Kerpen on Authenticity/ Branding on Social Media