Students can invest in their current studies and future careers by pursuing and interacting with mentors.
Jonathan Miranda Jr., a Communication Studies student at CSUSB, was able to simplify a mentor’s role in the student’s life.
[su_quote]“Probably the biggest benefit is that, in simple terms, mentors are life leaders,” Miranda said, “They give you a better, more mature, and seasoned perspective on things. Ultimately, they are there for you.”[/su_quote]
In 2014, the Gallup-Purdue Index was created. According to their website, it is the largest representative study of college graduates in U.S. history.
In this study, they focus on several things including quality of life and happiness once a student graduates.
Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University explained, “Our survey clearly indicated that it wasn’t where you go to college as much as it is how you go to college—what you extract from the campus experience.”
The key concept behind that idea is to constantly be a learner in any environment. Perhaps one of the best ways to make a college experience work is to utilize the resources available to students.
Dr. Astrid Sheil, a Communication Studies professor with a foreign studies background has an idea of what mentoring really can do.
“The magic is in the conversation, not in the information,” Sheil said, “Many times, the mentee already knows what needs to be done, but it is the confirmation, support, and encouragement of the mentor that makes the difference.”
Sheil also explains why the dialogue in the conversation can be beneficial.
“From my experience as a mentor, I offer students a chance to understand, challenge, and examine their intentions by asking lots of questions,” Sheil continued, “Why do you want to do this? Have you thought about where this might lead professionally? I also like to share my experiences so students will know they are not alone. We all need some direction and support at different times in our lives.”
By utilizing the expertise and wisdom of those who have already worked in your field it gives students an edge to what they have to offer an employer later.
Elle Carlos, a 2016 CSUSB graduate, is currently an Assistant Account Executive at Westbound Communications, a public relations agency that has a regional focus across several industries.
Carlos confirmed that the mentor relationship she had helped her grow in her professional life.
“Dr. Astrid Sheil was my mentor throughout college and has continued to be,” Carlos said, “Having a mentor has helped my professional growth immensely because it has given me guidance when I’ve needed it. When you get to know them, many professors have experience outside of academics.”
Carlos added that because of the background her mentor had, it encouraged her to grow.
“Dr. Sheil has dabbled in just about every avenue of public relations and because of that was able to give me advice, suggest opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise considered and push me to take on challenges outside of my comfort zone,” Carlos said.
Carlos also explained that the main resource mentors can offer students is confidence.
“A mentor can also give students the confidence they need to take on new challenges,” Carlos continued, “Everyone somewhat fears post-grad life, because it’s an entirely new uncharted territory and “What’s next?” is often the big question. Mentors really help get students on the right path to make that new territory a little less intimating.”
Professor Donald Girard, Communication Department, also echoed Carlos’ sentiment.
[su_quote]“It’s about tying it together. You’re not gonna get hired away from your university to sit in a conference room all day and discuss theoretical applications,” Girard said, “They won’t pay you for that. If you’ve had some mentoring knowledge, your confidence level in your abilities increases. And that comes across in the interview process once you apply for a job.”[/su_quote]
Girard shared why having a mentor builds confidence in the student and united it with the idea of learning in any environment.
“Because one of the things about the collegiate experience is, you’re studying various books and theories and taking tests,” Girard expressed, “But in the back of your mind it’s the idea that, well, I really haven’t done this. I’ve got a theory, but I don’t have application. If you have a mentor, I think your level of confidence increases that the mentor has helped you relate theory to application.”
By learning in any environment and seeking the counsel of a mentor, students will find themselves more equipped for their future endeavors.