The Importance of Mentorship

written by: Ethan Holmes '09
Emerson Quote

My understanding of mentorship, specifically what it means to be mentored and in turn what it means to become a mentor, is a work in progress. I am able to speak much more succinctly on the importance of having mentors in the different phases of your life. That is because I have been blessed with two wonderful mentors so far in my life. My hope is that this brief blog post will be able to expand on that sentiment. Transitioning from receiving the guidance of a mentor to also providing guidance as one is not an easy change, but ultimately personally rewarding.
It is, in my opinion, one of life’s great fortunes is experience a great mentorship. For me, it was vital in helping me get to where I am today. I moved away from home to boarding school a shy, nervous, and somewhat disgruntled teenager. Through mentoring, I was able to feel accepted, unique, and motivated to try hard to improve myself professionally and personally. The need for self-improvement is a side-effect or return transaction from receiving such direct attention and guidance. I felt that it was imperative for me to return the investment that these individuals had put into me. My mentors, of course, would not see it this way, they would merely want me to progress and be happy. For me this shows off the true brilliance of mentorship, both parties of the relationship want to try their hardest to do their share and nothing more.
MentorUltimately transitioning into a position of being a mentor is something that I feel is essential to complete the mentorship cycle, but is a daunting task. I am still in the early stages of being able to provide true and honest mentorship in a professional setting. There is a great responsibility and pressure for me personally to be an effective and caring mentor.  I was given the basic foundations about what it means to be a mentor, but adding your personal touch is the most complex and potentially rewarding part of the equation. Unsurprisingly, our greatest resource for this will be our very own mentors. Being in the later stages of your relationship with them gives you the opportunity to ask essential questions about your personal relationship that can be used by you in the future. Questions like, how they came to decide to be your mentor, how to handle the rough patches, did they feel that there were situations that they would have changed?  Ultimately, this will be the best foundation for you to move forward.
I believe that it is my duty to try and pass along the love and care that I received and continue to receive from my mentors. This is no small task, as I want to make a substantial difference in my mentees lives. But, if there is one thing that I have learned from my past mentoring, it is that all I can do is try my best to let my mentee excel and be there for them during their journey.
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