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From being a mentee to being a mentor: The importance of mentorship

By Danielle Lewis

Maybe you’re an independent student who doesn’t feel like you could benefit from having a mentor, or maybe you are new to the school and would benefit from someone who you can reach out to for help and advice. I for one was definitely not the former. Starting university, I immediately signed up for the university’s mentorship program, which benefited me in more ways than one.

From being a mentee to being a mentor, I’ve experienced first hand the importance of mentorship. Every goal I’ve accomplished I can trace back to a specific mentor who motivated me in some way. However, I’m not simply saying if you find a mentor all your problems are solved; it is still up to YOU to make your own choices and accomplish your goals.

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The perspective of a mentee

In the first year, I jumped at the opportunity of having an upper year student matched with me through the Peer Leader program and I became a mentee. This was my first experience with mentorship and I experienced first hand the benefits of having a mentor:

  • Having an upper year student to turn to for advice
  • Being motivated by someone who is where you one-day hope to be
  • Confiding in your mentor about similar problems they may have experienced
  • Getting a different perspective from someone you look up to
  • Learning from their mistakes and experiences

The perspective of a mentor

What goes around comes around, and in the second year, it was my turn to give back. I signed up for the Peer Leader program (s/o to UOIT Student Life ☺) and became a mentor myself. Throughout my second year, I was mentoring 19 students, some more receptive than others, and I experienced the highs and lows of mentorship.

Highs:

  • Some students benefit and grow from the advice you provide them!
  • You gain leadership and mentorship experience
  • You are able to continue the feedback loop, sharing your experiences with the community

Lows:

  • Some students don’t need a mentor and are more independent (which is okay as well!)  

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Nevertheless, it only takes helping one person to feel the fulfilment of mentorship. I am now in my third year and I am still friends with the students I mentored. This year I continue mentoring as a Senior Peer Leader in which I supervise a group of Peer Leaders. The coolest thing has been seeing the students I mentored become mentors themselves and watching the cycle continue.

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Why mentoring matters

So… why is mentoring important? Before you turn down the opportunity of mentorship, just remember, mentoring is free, but the knowledge you can gain is priceless. Maybe you need someone for a second opinion? Maybe you need someone for encouragement to help you stay on track? And guess what… maybe someday YOU will become a mentor!

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For more information about the Peer Leader program, visit the Student Life Website.