National Mentoring Month

When was the last time you thanked your mentor?

Writing the first post of 2013 was challenging with so much to reflect on for 2012 and much to look forward to in 2013.  I have a long list sitting on my desk including: 2013 intention (health- less stress more healthy eating and working out), overview of my winter break (snow and duty), international travel, The Placement Exchange-TPE (my recommendation is to attend if you can), and several others. I plan to write on all of these topics, but I felt compelled to write about mentoring given the President’s proclamation that January is National Mentoring Month.

Where would you be today without the mentor(s) in your life? Many of us would likely not be student affairs professionals.  I think back to the many people who have guided me and helped to shape me.  My theater teacher in high school and a caring principal are two people who I often think will never realize the positive influence they’ve had on my life.  They were early mentors and I believe much of my leadership style mirrors the way they lived their lives.

 As a first generation college graduate, I needed a strong mentor to help guide me through some of the difficult challenges many college students face.  Personally I have always found I need someone who can be a good listener and can help talk through some of life’s challenges. I was lucky to have several student affairs professionals who were wonderful listeners and role models.

In graduate school my mentors were inspiring and found ways to challenge me to dig deeper, reflect more, and find my own authentic path. My graduate assistantship was working with a program at Colorado State University called the First Year Mentoring Program. Students were placed in groups with a returning student and a faculty and or staff member with a similar interest, hobby, identity or passion.

The theme for one of the years of the program was “mentoring for lives of purpose”.  What if this became a constant theme for our work? We clearly cannot be mentors for every student we come across, but what if we came to work everyday focused on helping students in a way a mentor has helped us?

The second semester is a good time to find out what mentoring opportunities are available for next year on your campus.  Many institutions have programs like the First Year Mentoring Program and are looking for staff members who are enthusiastic and ready to lead!

I encourage you to call a mentor sometime this month and thank her or him for the ways he or she positively influenced your life.

Stefanie Lucas

Student Affairs - the First Years

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