At the end of my peer-mentee form during my first year, in the ‘other information’ box, I noted that the form felt like I was filling out an application for a dating site (and yes I do know what that feels like, having filled one out, and having created an application for others to fill out). Three months later, walking home around 3 in the morning after a three-hour conversation with my mentor at the tail end of a party, I was glad the form had been so thorough. We had talked about the program, art, life, and it was one of those conversations I wish I had more of, one that grew organically out of asking questions and continued out of mutual interest.
There were many other, shorter conversations over meals, and coffee with my mentor that rounded out our relationship, but I remember the big one the most fondly. During my first year, I liked having a go-to person for discussing the program: the stress over assignments, trying to discern an area of specialty, and of course attempting to find that elusive thing we call “work-life balance.” Also, as a mentee, I was able to act as a soundboard for my own mentor, hearing of the challenges that faced a continuing student, which were like the struggles of a first year, but simply to a higher degree.
Now, as a second year, I am faced with the possibility of being a mentor. The format is different this year, the questionnaire altered (although still distinctly dating-form-esque), the program changed slightly. I try to remember what my mentor-mentee relationships have been like. I had mentors in student affairs in undergrad, although I have been woeful at keeping those up, despite the fact they are only 30 miles away. I attempt to act as a mentor for my student workers, but much of that work fares has a more gentle tone, as I aid students making their journey of self-discovery. There is also a bigger perceived distance there, that I enforce. I had few peer-mentors in undergrad, and the few I had were best friends. I’ve had to realize that I have very little idea how to be a mentor, and my one good model is the peer mentor-mentee relationship from last year.
Due dates for mentors: October 4th. For mentees, October 10th (after the retreat).