Today in one of our MOST Summer Program seminars, we got to listen to Dr. Marucha speak about the role of mentors in our lives as well as mentees, and at the end of the lecture we had to draw out a map that had everyone we felt were our mentors in the academic setting as well as other settings like our social/emotional side. The main gist is that it helps a lot to have someone who has gone through the route that you plan to take on, and whether it is advising or helping you jump on that scholarship application, they can be a source of strength and a valuable resource to your education and improving your personal well-being.
For me, mentoring is about understanding someone’s challenges and struggles through their career and their life outside of their career. I find my mentors have given me the best advice through their own experiences, but in the end it is up to me whether or not it applies to my situation. Everyone has their own unique challenges and struggles but I always feel that inherently they can be weighted the same. And, I think it is through these hardships that define who we are as people.
But how do we choose our mentors? Or our mentees? I am very fortunate to have been placed through UIC mentoring programs that I signed up for my freshman and sophomore year with wonderful people, but when I tried mentoring my sophomore year I felt a little bit unprepared (and I am glad that I improved on it greatly since). If you’re feeling like you’re on your own, well — you’re not. There are lots of people who would be interested in helping you achieve your goals and I bet you would love to get to know them too. It’s a shame we don’t interact with people around us more often (mainly because we’re all paranoid or just don’t like forming new relationships as we get older … not sure), and I’m guilty of it too! Perhaps it is because I feel unwelcomed at some spaces, and very welcomed at others. Luckily, UIC is a big enough school where I think anyone can find their niche, but it is a small enough school where your contribution to the university actually matters and is cared about by someone (or can matter if you allow it to).
So, if you have been through UIC and haven’t already gotten involved through mentoring programs, I highly suggest that you get started immediately! Here are a few that I have personally been a part of as well as a link to more resources:
- Asian American Mentoring Program (AAMP) – I met some really incredible people through this mentoring program my freshman year and it is really nice to share — culturally — what kind of things have been on your mind at school without being asked why because they already know
- Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Program (WISE) – I was extremely lucky to have a wonderful mentor through this program. She was a researcher with a PhD in bioengineering and a mommy! Mad respect.
- Society of Future Physicians Mentoring Program (SFP) – I definitely plan to bring this back into our pre-medical organization because it was SUCH a wonderful help when I was a freshman to have a mentor. She rocked! I don’t know why we ever got rid of it. New changes are coming!
- LOTS MORE TO BE INVOLVED WITH AND MEET PEOPLE … (:
I hope you will all think about who your mentors and even role models are! They may one in the same or different people. It’s all up to you. I hope everyone had a great July 4th holiday and celebrated Blackhawks’ win and Pride Day!