When I first heard that, as a part of LAS protocol, I would be getting a mentee, my first thought was, “I can barely take care of myself; how can I be expected to help take care of someone else?” I was nervous for other reasons too. What if they didn’t like me? What if we just didn’t connect? Freaking out, I tried not to think about it too much as the year went on. As it was, I didn’t really have to worry about picking a mentee until the latter half of second semester.
As much as I (and the rest of my cohort, for that matter) did not have to worry about picking a mentee for quite some time, I definitely did. It was a topic of conversation among the whole cohort for much of the year; who would they be, how awesome they were going to be, who was going to get who, etc. I didn’t contribute to much of the conversation, but I certainly thought about it a lot.
The week before our class got to pick our mentee, the TA’s and Jesi (our teacher) put on a ‘Mentee Workshop,’ where we all got to sit around and talk about what it meant to be a mentor. This definitely eased my stresses a little bit. I learned that being a mentor is not all about being the coolest person possible, its about being what your mentee wants. Everything I am going to do as a mentor is going to be based on what my mentee wants out of me. If they want to go out to lunch once a week and talk about things, then I will be sure to be there for those lunch dates. If they want to be best friends, then I am all for that as well. If, for some reason, they either want nothing to do with me or do not find me to be a good resource for them, then I will just have to deal with it; I may not be what is best for them, but I can point them in the direction of a person (maybe another mentor) who will be the best for them. Sure, I may be a little hurt, but this is experience is all about the mentees, and not myself.
Regardless of how they may feel about me, I am SO excited to be a mentor. I am excited to be a part of my mentees life, and play an important part in their new life here at CMU. I had so many questions when I first got here; I am assuming my mentee will as well, and I hope to be able to give them some answers. Also, after looking at my mentee’s bio sheet, I saw that she has no idea what she wants her major to be. I, too, have no idea, so I am excited to go on this journey with her and maybe even figure out our lives together.
In preparing myself to be a mentor, I already know a few things that I should NOT do; to start off, I should stop preparing for the worst possible scenario. I need to tell myself that she WILL like me (sure, it may be awkward at first, but that’s really not the worst thing in the world). Secondly, I have to know, that while I may help her in figuring out her life, I am not her mother. It is not my job to ‘take care’ of her. She is an adult, doing adult things in an adult place; she knows how to take care of herself. However, I am will be here whenever she needs me. Luckily, I will only be living half a block away, and I can be there anytime-day or night (as I really don’t sleep all that often).
I am SO excited to be a mentor. It’s going to be a great experience for both myself, and (best case scenario) my mentee as well. Soon, she will call Central her home, and I am excited to share in that experience with her.