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Kopp's Weekly — Peer Mentorship

Kopp's Weekly — Peer Mentorship

What does mentorship mean to you?

Dear Students,


As many of you are nearing the end of the semester thinking about next steps, a word keeps coming up in many conversations across campus -- mentorship. Students being recognized for honors speak of important mentors who helped them. Students working through academic difficulty turn to mentors for advice. Some who are graduating are sorting out next directions, asking lots of questions of their mentors. The process doesn't end with college -- ask faculty members, business professional, or parents, and they will tell you that mentoring continues to be an important part of people being successful.

Mentoring can take a lot of forms, but it is not just shooting the breeze with our peers. Mentors challenge us to think about next steps and the implications of choices. Mentors ask us to think critically about our underlying motivations, helping us set aside the clutter in our everyday to help us make decisions. Mentors provide guidance based on their experience, but also have the gift of asking just the right number of questions to help us come to our own path. Some mentors will let us make our own mistakes. Mentors call us out on behaviors or decisions that are going to hold us back down the road (in these situations, mentors are giving us a gift, even if it may not feel like it!).

If you are interested in mentoring, check out the CNS Peer Leadership Academy, which can be a launch point in to serving as a mentor in our FIG programs, TIP, or FRI or as an undergraduate TAs in courses as diverse as calculus, chemistry, physics, or biology. The PLA provides internationally-recognized certification through the College Reading and Learning Association which can be useful on a resume. This is a great time to be thinking about how you might be a mentor for next year and sign up for the PLA Training Academy which August 27. Contact Jenny Smith at jlsmith@austin.utexas.edu if you are interested to learn more. This Friday, I have the pleasure of recognizing student mentors from the 2011-2012 year at the PLA Annual Recognition Event.

Mentoring is part of the process of being a lifelong learner. And learning this skill of of seeking and giving mentorship can make the difference between learning to grow beyond current circumstances and never being ready for next major life decisions. Ask successful people who were their mentors, and they can tell you in a heartbeat. As you progress in your college career, one of my hopes for you is that you find mentors of your own and you can serve in that role for others.

Have a great week,

Sacha Kopp

 

Associate Dean,

 

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Monday, 10 May 2021

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