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5 Reflections on the Mentoring Journey: Personal Insights From a Mentor


I first learned about the Bolder Options program through my mentor, April Riordan, who mentioned to me that I would be a great fit for the program. I was looking to be more involved in the community and impact work after being a year out of undergrad. As someone who has had a lot of experience with volunteering and community development work as an undergrad, I found myself yearning to re-immerse myself in the community and that is how I found Bolder Options. I applied to the program in the summer and was paired with my mentee, Octavia, in October of 2023.


Being a mentor to Octavia has meant the world to me. It is a profound responsibility and privilege not only to spend time with her but also to learn from her and see the world through her perspective. I understand how significant my role as a mentor to Octavia is and know that it extends far beyond just offering guidance or imparting knowledge; it's about being a source of support, encouragement, and inspiration in her life. Here 5 reflections I have from our time together as a pairing.


Responsibility


Mentoring is a significant responsibility. You're not just a casual observer but an active agent in shaping the development and future of your mentee. My commitment to being present, dependable, and consistent not only supports and guides Octavia but also lets her know she can count on me.


Listening and Empathy


Being a mentor calls for listening and empathy. Octavia is more introverted, but as we've been hanging out and experiencing new activities, she has begun opening up. Effective mentoring requires active listening and empathy. Sometimes, she may not have much to say, but we both mutually understand each other. Mentoring has taught me about understanding Octavia’s unique experiences, perspectives, and challenges, and providing guidance tailored to her individual needs and circumstances. For example, I learned that Octavia’s favorite color was yellow based on compliments I had given her on her outfits and jewelry. I was able to give her yellow ear muffs for her birthday, and the excitement on her face when she opened the gift made me feel warm inside because of my active listening.


Role Modeling


As a mentor, you serve as a role model for your mentee. Your actions, attitudes, and behaviors can have a powerful influence on your mentee's values and choices. It's important to lead by example and demonstrate integrity, resilience, and compassion in everything you do.


Continuous Learning


Mentoring requires the mentee and mentor to be in a state of continuous learning. Mentoring is a two-way street. While you may be guiding your mentee, you also have the opportunity to learn from them. Their perspectives, curiosity, and resilience can inspire you to approach life with a renewed sense of wonder and optimism.


Impactful


Mentoring is incredibly impactful. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a mentor is seeing the positive impact I have on Octavia’s life. Whether it's helping her navigate challenges, discover new passions through different activities, or simply being someone she can confide in, I know how important the influence I have on her as a mentor is, and it's been a transformative experience not only for her but for me as well.


Overall, being Octavia’s mentor has been a deeply rewarding experience that has taught me patience, compassion, and dedication. This opportunity with Bolder Options has been nothing short of amazing, allowing me to make a meaningful difference in someone's life and leave a lasting legacy of kindness, support, and encouragement.


Would you like to become a mentor?




 






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