What Being a Mentor Means to Me

As part of the LAS protocol, it is required that all Sophomore members in a cohort take a member of the incoming freshman class as a mentee. As the near of my freshman year had come to an end, the mentors of the LAS class of 2016 got our clipboards, pencils, and attitudes, and were ready to choose our mentees. The process within itself was pretty stressful, as we had 45 brand new leaders to choose from! Each leader came from different areas, had different passions, and different leadership styles. Making the process all the more fun. Once the process was complete, I had my perfect little mentee, Emily Doucette.

Emily is a riot. I have never been so scared of someone who was 4’11” in my life. She is a ball of fire, waiting to explode. She is determined, open-minded, and has the drive to succeed… and is really sassy.

Growing up an only child, I was not sure how I was going to deal with this other human being, who was now such an important piece of my life. I had been entrusted by the Leadership Institute to show my mentee the ropes of CMU and LAS when I wasn’t sure quite what the hell I was doing here in the first place. Lets just say I winged it for a while. I wanted to be this cool person that she could look up to, call throughout the day, text whenever she needed it, and most importantly, I wanted her to be my friend. I did some corny reveal and met her at Panara Bread for lunch where we both argued about who was going to pay for food. The conversation that followed was so easy. I had felt that we had known each other for ages and I knew that our relationship was going to be great even though we had both just met.

 

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The year presented some challenges for us, as we both had our struggles, our ups and downs. I tried to be there whenever she needed it, as she was always there for me. Whether it was hammocking, hanging out, getting food(thanks for the guest swipes), or just talking on the phone or texting, we always had a great time.

We both had a ton of fun this year. I can honestly say that Mentee Mentor retreat this year was a blast. The purpose of the event is to get mentors and mentees on the same page through conversation, team building exercises, and relationship building exercises. There were many fun events and activities to do, and the event was so great because I really got to build our relationship. (Thanks for not making me do the zip-line, very convenient that we are both afraid of heights.)

Troughout this year, I have learned so much from Emily. I learned that it is okay to not be okay, and I learned how important it is to take time out of your day for self care. Before I received my amazing mentee, I often found myself burnt out after a long day of coursework, as I was not taking time out for me. It might sound cliche, but she has taught me so much about myself, and for that I am so grateful.

I would hope that Emily would say that I have been a positive influence on her life this far here at CMU.  Because she has sure influenced mine.

The topic of this blog is: “What does being a Mentor mean to me.”

I can say that being a mentor to Emily has been a empowering experience. Being a mentor is a two way street, as much effort as you put in you will get out. Although I was the mentor, I feel that Emily has taught me so many life lessons over the last year. I feel like a proud sibling watching his baby sister grow up into such a great person.

 

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Emily,

As a mentor and as a friend, I could not be more proud of the person you have become this year. You are a strong woman, who has the drive that will take you anywhere you want to go in life. Where there is struggle, there is perseverance. Life throws some curve ball so be sure not to get caught looking. It has been a wonderful year and I cannot wait to meet our perfect addition to our LAS family. (I am old, and its crazy to think that I will already be a G mentor). I hope you had a great year, and I am looking forward to spending more time with you next year.

Love you “little one.”

Blake

 

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Mentor/Mentee Retreat

On September 10th, 2016 I experienced something great with even better people. What I am talking about is the Mentor/Mentee retreat. As a program requirement for LDR100, my cohort of 50 boarded a bus with our 50 mentors and took a road trip. Our trip was to a place called Eagle Village, and at the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What I was getting myself was one of the best experiences of my life, and this weekend proved to exceed all expectations. It all started on the bus ride : we connected with our mentors, told stories, and sang songs. We all knew what the weekend held in store. SOMETHING AWESOME. I was so excited to spend time with my mentor, Dalton Sutherland. He and I were in store for a wonderful weekend.

We got off the bus and got our dorms ready to sleep in. After this we quickly got ready for our first activity which included sharing our “About me maps” that we did the weeks prior. On our maps were our stories of life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. During this time many emotions were flying around some got uncomfortable. As leaders, we knew we had to share these experiences with each other, and these experiences made us stronger as individuals and strengthened our groups as well.

Next, my group went to a room where we discussed our expectations for the weekend with the staff of Eagle Village. The hosts explained to us that it was it was a sacred space and it was okay to be our true selves at the retreat. We were excited as a group to take on the whole weekend together whole heartedly.

Our first group activity took place on the high ropes course. Mentor/Mentee combos went up into the course together and had to conquer the course together. I hated heights and so did Dalton. When it was our time to enter the course we both looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Be the best duo we could and tackle the course head on. Dalton and I hurried up the ladder and completely killed the high ropes course together. If it was not for Dalton I would not have even climbed up the ladder. During this activity I truly realized how important it is to have someone there for you when you need it. Dalton and I were both scared, yet we were able to conquer our fears by going through the ropes course together.

The night continued with basketball and volleyball where were able to connect with other mentor/mentee pairs on the trip. Large groups came together to play competitive sports and the competition made the events fun. This was a very sociable experience for everyone involved and this created a very fun night for everyone.

That night we had a group bonfire and had an open discussion and shoutout session to everyone in the cohort which was a very cool experience. Everyone bonded completely over the bonfire and everyone ended the night with s’mores and smiles.

As a cohort we all slept on the floor of the lobby that night and sang songs all night.

The next day involved another team challenge course. We were required to carry a sled full of balls through a log course without touching the ground or letting go of the rope attached. This challenge made us work together and also made some people frustrated. It was a challenge for all students to remain calm, and this added to the intensity of the exercise. We learned that we either going to win as a team or lose as a team, there was no other way around it.

The wonderful weekend was over as we boarded the busses and headed back to Mt. P. Mentor/Mentee combos fell asleep on each other while listening to cheesy 90’s music. After a long and near restless weekend, all participants had a wonderful times, the mentor/mentee retreat created smiles for miles.

After this experience, Ive come to realize how lucky I am to have an active mentor in my life. Dalton has been the go to guy for me when Ive needed help with anything, and I am lucky and blessed to call him my mentor.