My Mentoring Experience – Not What It Could Have (Should Have) Been

Every year, the sophomore LAS class is tasked with mentoring an incoming freshman student. My mentee this year was Katie Piggott, a girl who is passionate about everything that she does and will be a driving force in this world. She was an amazing person to get to know this year; I however, could have done a much better as her mentor.

I have always been an awkward person. I’ve never been the best at striking up a conversation, or forming relationships with people. When I got my mentee, I already saw so many people in my class forming these close friendships with their mentees. A month into the school year, they were all so close already. While me and my mentee were…not. We didn’t dislike each other by any means – we just didn’t really talk all that often.

The mentee-mentor retreat and everything after was great for the most part. We grew a little bit closer – had dinner every now and again, said hi to one another when we saw each other. She would text me from time to time for advice, but that was the extent of our relationship.

I always grew worried that I wasn’t doing enough, but whenever I looked at her or saw her around, she was thriving. She had great friends and was excelling in all of her classes. I wanted to do more for her, but I realized that she didn’t really need it. Thinking more about it, I could see where she was coming from. She is a very independent person like myself, and we rely a lot on trial and error for life. I knew that if she ever needed me she was more than willing to reach out. She trusted me, but she didn’t need to rely on me.

And that was the hardest thing for me to learn. I always want to be there to help, taking charge in anyway I can (my roommates tell me I’m a control freak. I have no idea where they get that from). But that is not always the best plan of action, something I have had to learn and grow into these last couple of months as a mentor. It is not about what I want to do as a mentor, but about what my mentee needs from me. And what she needed from me is someone who will be there when she needs me, and to be a friend to talk to. This is a task I am more than willing to uphold, and I am eager to expand our relationship in the years to come.

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