My Experiences with Mentoring

“You make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give”
– Unknown

Mentoring is one of the most valuable intangible resources a young person can receive. Through mentoring, so many doors of opportunities and personal growth can be unlocked. Connections made through mentoring can be short-term or they can last a lifetime.

My time at NIU, I have been fortunate to have so many mentors that have left positive indelible marks in my life. I have mentors who are my fellow students that are classes ahead of me, faculty in my field and out of my field and even university officials. One of my mentors that stand out and that I am very grateful for having is Dr. Julia Spears. Dr. Julia Spears is the Associate Vice Provost of Engaged Learning. It was interesting how I met Dr. Spears. I met Dr. Spears my first semester at NIU which was Fall 2013. I transferred to NIU that semester and I did not know many people nor did I know any offices or programs. I was a very interested student who liked to get involved so as I was walking on campus I saw a couple of people around a table set that was meant for the TLCs (Themed Learning Communities) though I did not know what it was at the time. I walked up to Dr. Spears and introduced myself and I asked her what the TLCs were all about. She told me about the program and she then encouraged me to apply for the Research Rookies program because she saw a very keen interest in me. I applied for the program and got in. The rest is history. The program opened up a lot of opportunities for me and my relationship with Dr. Spears grew as well. She recommended so many other things for me and she advised me on some many occasions. She has been a very great resource and mentor to me and I am very grateful to her.

I am very honored that some students around campus can call me their mentor and come to for advice and directions. However, I served as an official mentor to students in the Physics and Calculus TLCs for a semester. In this capacity, I guided students through their Physics 1 and Calculus 1 courses. I held study sessions and attended their lab classes so that I can talk to them and see how the students were doing.

I really like the initiative that the university is trying to push forward with. Connecting alumni with students is a great resource to encourage and promote student career success. I believe linking students with professionals who have walked the same path that the students did and succeeded will help increase not only graduation rate but also retention rate. I hope to get in contact with my mentor and forge a connection that will benefit the both of us.