Making a Dream Career of Mentoring
It’s hard to believe that two years ago I was interviewing for graduate programs in student affairs, and now I’m getting ready for commencement. I was inspired to enter this field when I had one-on-one meetings with my adviser, Andrea Brown, for the Collegiate Panhellenic Council at Texas A&M University. The atmosphere in the office was relaxed yet energetic, and during our meetings I would look over at her white board at her color-coded to-do list and think, That looks like fun! Being an environmental studies major, I thought that I needed to stay in that field because, well, I spent four years learning about it. I took a year off after undergrad to figure out what I wanted to do and decided that higher education was where I wanted to be.
Coming to the University of Kansas’ higher education administration program was one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far in my life, but I have absolutely no regrets. It has been difficult being away from my family and my partner, but these challenges have helped me grow as a person and learn about who I really am and what I stand for. I have learned that if I want to help students, I have to understand myself and the biases I may unconsciously have in order to be the best resource I can be. There are so many pathways that I can take in student affairs, and the most important thing I have learned is that I genuinely enjoy working with students.
Since writing my last blog post about mentoring, I have come to see myself in that mentor role even more, and it is so fulfilling. I truly enjoy one-on-one interactions and watching students grow in skills and confidence in their positions as resident assistants. As I look forward to graduating from this program, I know that I want to continue to help students learn and grow, because some of the most valuable lessons are learned outside of the classroom. I am no longer afraid of challenging students to step outside of their comfort zones while giving them the support they need to be successful.
There are countless lessons I’ve learned and truths about myself I have uncovered, but a couple of things have stuck out to me: “to grow is to stretch, and that can be painful” and “every step of the journey is the journey.” Live in the present, even if it is difficult, because what we challenge ourselves to do will serve us in the future. Never take for granted relationships that make us happy and teach us something, even if it’s not what you want to hear. I am so glad that I was able to serve on the AAUW National Student Advisory Council during my graduate study and build new relationships with other college women leaders.
I would like to challenge anyone reading this to follow your dreams no matter how crazy or difficult it may seem, because it will always be worth it in the end.
This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Kelly Kay Clark.