November 13, 2014

Top four reasons why having a mentor during college is essential

As a first-generation college student, I can attest that without a family member’s knowledge of American college life, the transition can be disheartening. In high school, my counselor enthusiastically took the role of “self-help and academic guru,” originally reserved for a family member. However, her teachings did not extend past my high school graduation. Entering college, I needed a “self-help guru, college edition” — someone that could provide me with the academic, personal and professional advice I needed to succeed in college. I needed a mentor. Luckily, the Earl Woods Scholarship Program provided me with a mentor that has helped me in far more ways than I can count. 

Because I have benefited greatly from a mentor, I will now present the top four reasons for finding a college mentor — as told by a first-generation college student:

1. “Real world” perspective
As any college student would know, it is easy to drown yourself with various clubs, organizations and groups because they all “sound amazing.” After participating in all the clubs for about a week, we begin to feel the fatigue these activities have on our body, mind and academics. Here is where mentors come in. They can break things down in order of importance, allowing you to see which activity has more weight in your professional and personal life. 

2. Professional guidance
Whether you feel sad over personal, professional or academic reasons, a mentor is only a phone call or email away. Throughout my two years in college, there are times my friends could not provide the reassurance I needed, so I contacted my mentor. Although it took her time to respond, the wait was worth it because her response was filled with the wisdom I needed. 

3. Expanding your network
Aside from giving self-help advice, your mentor can help you expand your career network and possibly help you find internships or job positions. With a mentor, you are already one step ahead everyone else in the job pool!

4. Reassurance
College is a time of uncertainty for some, if not, all college students. Thinking of changing majors, but you want advice from someone other than a college advisor? Talk to your mentor. Thinking about studying abroad, but you need an outside perspective that does not include family relatives? Talk to your mentor. Thinking of quitting your part-time job, but you need to talk to someone about it? Talk to your mentor. Your mentor will always be there to provide the reassurance you need to make your college experience the best that it can be. 

Ultimately, your mentor stands as an extension to your support group, because you can never have too many supporters.

For more information on Rogelio and other students in the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, please visit the Earl Woods Scholarship Program