By Brittany Collins, Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Bcollins Mentor
Postsecondary Outreach and Career Transitions Manager, Brittany Collins and her mentor Phyllis Washington, Director of 21st Century Scholars at IUPUI.

Pursuing a college degree or certificate can be a daunting task if it’s your first time. You’re not alone in feeling nervous or scared, but understand that there are plenty of people who have done it before and want to help you achieve your goal. January is National Mentoring Month, and we hope this blog inspires you to reach out and find a mentor or volunteer to become one yourself in the future.

A mentor is someone who is more knowledgeable or experienced about a particular activity or process you’re trying to complete, like graduating from college. A mentor can be younger or older than you, but they have the wisdom to guide you through completing your goal. Having a mentor can provide you with a ton of benefits like:

  • Showing/explaining to you how to do a difficult/complex task
  • Connecting you with other resources to help you be successful
  • Introducing you to more people to expand your support network
  • Challenging you to try new things that are beneficial
  • Keeping you focused on your goals and progress
  • Celebrating your achievements/encouraging you through disappointments
  • … and so much more!

Now, where can you find someone like that to mentor you? Luckily, there are many different organizations and programs across the state that can connect you with a mentor. The first step is to simply ask someone. If you’re in middle or high school, you can ask your counselor to help you find a program. There may also be programs based in your community like Big Brothers Big Sisters. For college students, you can find mentors by asking your professors, academic/career advisor or student affairs department to connect you with someone. There could also be mentorship opportunities through internships and professional organizations.

Engage Logo

If you are a 21st Century Scholar, there are several programs that intentionally connect you with mentors to keep you on track for completing your requirements and obtaining college and career success. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education partners with Diverse Talent Strategies Engage Mentoring to connect 21st Century Scholar alumni and professionals to current college-aged 21st Century Scholars for mentoring/coaching relationships. These meetings can happen virtually or over the phone. There are informational webinars on January 23, 2020 at noon and 5:30 pm (EST). Click the respective times to get registered.  

You don’t have to do this alone! There are plenty of people eager to help you meet your goals and realize your dreams. A majority of folks have reached the success that they have with the help of mentors and are eager to return the favor to those coming up behind them. And one last thing, don’t forget to do the same for those who come after you!

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