By Rosemary Hook
You Know You’re a Robber If…

…you don’t sign up to be a Student Mentor because you think the time commitment is too time intensive.

Did I just call you a robber?  Not really, but you might be a robber if you choose to rob a student of your time!   I did it again, I’m sorry, but now that I have your attention, when you hear the word “mentor” what comes to mind?   Are you envisioning a local, Starbuck settings with pouring rain outside, two women smartly dressed gabbing over coffee and then thinking, I don’t have time to drive somewhere and meet someone I barely know?   Think of this instead:  there’s you and another woman (10 – 20 years younger), probably with a backpack nearby, and if it’s Spring time, in shorts and flip flops.   Oh and you’re probably talking to one another on the phone because let’s face it, Austin traffic bites and no one, not even a college student in need of a mentor is going to get on the road and drive across town to meet for only one hour.   If you were Bradley Cooper they might, but you’re not Bradley Cooper.

If you were, I’d be your mentee.

I’m supposed to write about why you should become a mentor, how you would be making a difference in a college student’s life, how the angels of mentoring will bestow upon you great blessings in the mentor afterlife.  Instead, how about if I just tell you what’s really in it for you:

  • FLEXIBILITY (& hone your listening skills):   Remember, this is only 1 hour a month and probably via phone or email or in person and most students are only looking for a mentor by the semester.   And get this, you’ll actually become a better listener because the average college student has difficulty getting to the point – score!
  • PURPOSE (& feel smart about yourself):    At some point, your mentee is going to say, “You’re so smart” or “You know so much” and she will be right, and you will feel good, and you will have “given back” with “purpose” while “making a difference.”
  •  INFLUENCE (& learn coaching skills):   A good coach asks smart questions that guides the student through their own answer.   Translation:   you don’t have to have the answer to anything – how cool is that?  You just have to sound like a detective, like you do with your spouse or child or significant other.
  • DEVELOPMENT (& accountability):    You’ll be asked for your opinion on the student’s resume and since you’ll be touching base once a month—even if only via phone—this will put a little fire under the student’s butt to actually work on whatever it was they asked for your opinion.   If you’re lucky, your conversation will put a little fire under your butt as well.   It’s hard not to get excited about our own future when listening to the plans of another.

So back to the whole robber thing:  Yes, my house was robbed in December but thankfully the thieves were borderline brain dead.   The real blessing was that I had people I could call and ask questions, people whose opinion in this matter I trusted.   That’s what a Student Mentor is – that’s what you’ll be – someone a student can call — a trusted source.    No, not for a robbery but to make sure they are not robbed of good guidance.

We’re in need of a few more mentors for the upcoming Spring 2012 semester so if you have some time to help please fill out our Mentor Volunteer Form and we’ll be in touch soon!

 Photo uploaded to Flickr Creative Commons.