By Solomon McKenzie 22’
Mentoring is one of the most crucial and rewarding aspects of college. Unfortunately it often goes overlooked and underutilized by most students. While mentorships are also important in day-to-day life before and after graduation, college mentors give students the unique opportunity to learn from individuals who have experiences and knowledge that fits their specific professional, extracurricular, and academic scopes.
Mentorship has been a part of my academic life for as long as I can remember. Over the years I’ve had at least one mentor in my life that has helped in guiding me through academic trials, crucial decisions, and prospective careers by using their own experiences. When I started my undergraduate degree, I realized that I didn’t have a clue about what the future held in terms of my major, class load, and career post-graduation. While my guidance counselor was able to help breakdown the requirements for my degree, I didn’t feel truly prepared until I met upperclassmen in my major who were able to guide me through classwork, the best electives to sign up for, and which classes to avoid.
Mentors don’t have to be limited to academic peers and staff. I met my first professional mentor when I was a sophomore working towards achieving my undergraduate degree. At the time, I was considering changing my degree to a biology related field and decided to email an older professional acquaintance in the medical field. Not only did he enthusiastically talk to me about the pros and cons of my decision, but he guided me through the hardest classes I would need to prepare for, my post grad application process and what to expect in my early career. Without a mentor I wouldn’t have been able to make an informed decision and would be fully unprepared for the challenges that many post graduate students encounter when entering their industry. Without a doubt this is one of the major reasons I felt as though I was ahead of the competition in the career route I chose to take.
Even now as I’m preparing to from my master’s program and am currently in several mentor positions myself, I’m constantly reaching out to mentors I’ve formed relationships with over the past two years to inquire about different post graduate possibilities in my industry. If you’re interested in forming a mentor-mentee relationship, the college has a plethora of mentor related events and groups on campus including the AAPC peer advisors, alumni mentors, and major specific mentors. A full list can be found at: https://cepe.cofc.edu/mentoring-and-peer-education/index.php