I have had many important mentors throughout my life who have provided me with invaluable advice. From my older friends who passed along informal recommendations to my official mentors who guided me through confusing academic requirements, these people have helped me overcome times of confusion, uncertainty, and stress.
Having moved high schools thrice, I found myself drawn to mentorship programs at each school. I found that most schools have some sort of program that aims to help new students adjust to their institution. Whether that be through pairing them up with a well-adjusted student who is responsible for showing the new student around or having new students participate in a program specific to aiding their transition, schools usually make an effort to lessen the stress that comes with moving to a new school.
Mentorship programs are very underutilized and underrated. Who would pass up an opportunity to be paired with someone whose responsibility is solely to guide and help you? There are varying levels of commitment in any pairing, but nevertheless – I think that any relationship involving some degree of mentorship is a beneficial one.
Before I even attended my orientation as an admitted student at the University of Michigan, I applied to the Mentorship program. I instantly knew that the program was something that I would want to be a part of – and it was a lot more established at UMich than it had been at my high schools. At the university, hundreds of students are accepted as mentees for the program every year. The Mentorship Program at the University of Michigan was a community of students and faculty who were genuinely invested in this mission of providing and receiving mentorship – not simply a temporary pairing that was meant to only ease the transition into the first few weeks of school.
After applying and being accepted into the program, I became an official mentee for the program during my freshman year. My mentor went out of her way to make sure she did everything she could to help. On top of academic mentoring, she also talked me through some of the times I felt overwhelmed as a freshman and even took me to go shopping for clothes when I realized I wasn’t as prepared for the winter as I initially thought I was.
When I found out that the program was looking for a summer coordinator to help plan to set up the program for the upcoming year, I was ecstatic. It was something I was passionate about. Basically, I would have to help set up the proram for the fall. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, but I was excited!