"A balanced life is the centered intersection of your values, time, and action. That's where integrity resides." — Don Blohowiak
Play this video to learn more about the Civic Learning Mentor Experience:
"When I was first assigned to the mentoring program, I thought it would just be another thing to make my life difficult. Instead, it has become something I look forward to, a kind of ritual to clear my head every week. Throughout this process, things have been brought to my attention that would have gone unnoticed without the benefit of an outside perspective."
"It became clear to me that I was kind of just going with the flow and had no plans for the future. As my meetings with [my mentor] became more personal, it became clear to me that part of my problem was that I felt like I was not a part of the university."
"By having the chance to actually sit and physically write about what was most important to me and what my goals were really changed my perspective on things."
How to be a Good Mentee
It is important to go into the experience with a positive attitude. I know, I know, you were sanctioned to do this. You may prefer going to the gym or even doing homework to engaging in a forced and awkward conversation with someone you don't even know. Plus, this person probably thinks you're a trouble-maker, right? Wrong! You see, this is what you think, but you won't know for sure until it's over.
This person that you are getting ready to start meeting with - this mentor - is not your average grad student, faculty, or staff member. Your mentor volunteered to do this. They want to be there for you. The relationship goes both ways... they believe they will get something out of meeting with you, and their goal is to help you get something out of it as well.
Here are a few things that will help you get the most out of the experience:
- Get to know your mentor.
You were paired together for a reason. They may have some of the same interests as you, or they might be well informed or connected in the areas that will help you the most in moving forward.
- Be respectful.
Your mentor does not represent judicial affairs and had nothing to do with your case. They are here for you. It is important to treat their commitment with respect. Be on time, answer e-mails, and inform them if anything comes up.
- Be honest and engaged.
Your mentor does not know why you were sanctioned, and you are not obligated to tell them. However, the more you share about yourself, the more they can help you. Disclose what you feel is necessary to work toward your goals, but if you don't feel comfortable sharing something, just say so.
- Be open to trying new things.
The experience is designed for you. If you would like to change something to make the meetings more enjoyable and productive, say so. Suggest a change in scenery or an interesting activity. Most importantly, be open to feedback, change, new relationships, challenging conversations, disagreements, and just about anything.
- You get as much out of this experience as you allow yourself to.
Your mentor is not a teacher or a parent. The relationship may even turn into a friendship.
- Know what you want to get out of the experience.
The more you articulate your goals for the experience, the better they can help facilitate your achievement of them. Your mentor has interests, abilities, and points of view they hope to share with you... use them as a resource.
- Don't pigeonhole your mentor.
You don't want them to assume you are a certain kind of person; give them the same courtesy by not assuming anything about them.
- Take responsibility for your actions.
You may not agree with your sanction, but try your best to understand the university's perspective.
- Have fun!