Healthy Relationships

What?

This past year, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a mentor to two freshmen that were entering into their new life at CMU and in the LAS program. LAS provides each sophomore with the opportunity to mentor a freshman. At the end of my freshman year, I was assigned two freshmen that I would be mentoring for the rest of my time at CMU. As a mentor, I am responsible for helping sooth my mentee’s transition into college life. Each mentor decides to do this in their own way; with how much they want to be involved in their mentee’s lives and how much support they want to offer to them. From the beginning of the year, I made it my goal to make sure my mentees knew how much they were loved and encouraged to strive for the best and to be themselves by me.

With being a mentor, I was able to participate in the virtual mentor/mentee retreat this past fall. During this virtual retreat, I was able to really get to know my mentees and find out how I could best support them. It was a great resource in helping me learn about my mentees. We completed questioners, vison boards, and other activities to draw out different sides of us that are not usually seen. If I did not have to mentor/mentee retreat to help me get to know my mentees, I think I would not have as good as a relationship as I do with them now.

So What?

This mentoring experience was so much fun, but at the same time very challenging for me. I was constantly fighting the battle that I will never win: having enough time to do everything I want. I always felt like my goal with my mentees was never being met because I didn’t find the time to be with them as much as I could. I struggled with having 19 credits, being in multiple Registered Student Organizations, finding time to hangout with friends, self care, and being a cheerleader of sorts for my mentees.


After struggling with time management throughout my first semester, I decided I needed to make a change for second semester. At the beginning of the spring semester, I started to think ahead more and planning my time out in different ways. I decided that I needed to make more time for things that I wanted to do rather than forcing myself to do things that I did not have any desire to do (besides writing the occasional essay).

After making the switch to prioritizing my time to keep building the relationships that I wanted to invest in, I started to feel the quality of my life increase. I no longer felt the stress to make sure I am hitting 100 marks at a time, instead, it felt more like 10. With this, my relationship with my two mentees grew stronger, I found myself finding more time for them. Even if it was a quick Snapchat to them, I felt like I was connecting more with them than I did the previous semester.

Through this, I learned that being a good mentor is not about how many stars you have on your chest of all the things you are involved in and all the accomplishments you have in life. I think a true mentor is someone who can tell their mentees what their real life is like. I believe I showed my mentees what a true sophomore in college’s life is like; one that is really busy, one that will make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. but most importantly, one who will find time to do things that are important to them

I have been nothing but honest with my mentees this year. I told them when I was stressed, I told them when I was living my best life, and I told them when I was just “eh”. In turn, I believe this helped them open up to me and be comfortable to share nothing but honesty with me in return. I believe my mentees and I have grown from the average mentee and mentor relationship to one that we can really connect and be friends with each other.

Now What?

Now what? What happens after the first year of mentoring? Well, each LAS student is different. Some part ways, some grow closer. I hope to grow closer with my mentees and continue being someone that will support them in their college life. I hope that I can still be someone they look to for advice and friendship after this year is over and they get their own mentees.

As I stated above, I learned about how to have healthy relationships by being a mentor. I learned the importance of having time for myself and deciding  what relationships I want to find time to invest in. For the future, I am going to prioritize  my time to focus on the things in life that I want to invest in- like building healthy relationships.

My mentees taught me that a healthy relationship means being open and honest with the other person. Relationships are not build upon accolades or accomplishments, they are built on trust, understanding, and respect for one another.

Thanks for reading,

Jenna

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