by Amanda Stewart
Today I met a student for coffee. The student is a second year college student in a leadership program where they have the opportunity to connect with professionals in the area. She was matched with me. We conversed minimally over email and finally found a time that worked for both of our schedules. Sunday afternoon at a cute, quaint coffee shop downtown.
I think the student was a little nervous. She talked a lot, and I listened. We got to know each other and had a nice conversation. I don’t know if she left our coffee date feeling any better, but I sure did.
I learned a lot from our little meeting. The student asked me how I had it all figured out, how I knew in college I wanted to work in student affairs, how I knew what I was doing...etc. I shared my story with her but also cleared up one really big misconception: I don’t have it all figured out. I reminded the student that I am still unfinished too. Just because she’s 20 and in college, and I’m 25 and “adulting” doesn’t mean we are that many worlds apart. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I think back about my college major and question it. I have days when I want to stay in bed and I have days when I can’t wait to get to work. There is still so much I want to learn. I have side hustles and a stack of library books in front of me on marketing. I want to take a business class. I want to take a creative writing class. I’m unfinished and I like it that way.
I remember being in college and seeing people my “age” with “real” jobs and thinking “wow, they have it all together”. How wrong I was.
Reminding the student that I don’t have it all figured out, reminded me of that same thing. It made me think about what I look like through someone else's lens, and also how I see myself. It made me consider what I have accomplished, and yet feel excited for what is still to come.
I am looking forward to getting to know this student more, and myself through this mentoring experience. We can always learn from one another, no matter what side of the mentee-mentor table you’re on.