My mentee’s name is Hanna Lipic and she is from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is majoring in Early Childhood Education and loves to snowboard. When introducing myself to Hanna, I immediately found many aspects of our lives in common. I am also from Cincinnati and she actually went to a private high school that is located in my school district. So, our high schools were less than ten minutes from each other. In addition, we both have the same major which means that we take many of the same classes and have similar interests. Both of us love to work and play with kids and have wanted to be teachers since we were young. We were both also very involved in high school, especially with service, which is why we are able to be in Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars (ACES). We do have some differences though. For example, while I love to watch sports, Hanna really enjoys playing sports. She joined the Ohio State Ski Team and goes on various trips with them since she is a very good snowboarder. She also works with kids through empower sports where they come to campus and learn different sports. When I work with kids on campus it is usually more academic based, so a similar activity but different focus.
I think Hanna grew from first to second semester because she found where she fit in and enjoyed herself. Ohio State can seem a little overwhelming at first which she was nervous about at the beginning of the year. It can seem like a big task to find friends and get involved, but she seems to have lots of friends and be very involved in clubs that she enjoys. In addition, I think that she has grown in learning how to manage her time well in college and how to get all of the work done. She seems to be excelling in her classes which is awesome to watch since college can be challenging. It also seems like she became more comfortable as the year went on both in classes and in ACES because she participated more and was more outgoing.
As a mentor and leader, I also grew throughout the year. I am typically a shy person when I am not completely comfortable around people, but I easily felt comfortable talking to Hanna and asking questions about classes, involvement, and life soon after meeting her. I think I have become better at stepping out of my comfort zone through the experience and better at taking initiative too. I also learned how to lead and be a mentor without being annoying. I reached out and said hi whenever I saw Hanna but knew I did not need to check on her constantly since she is very independent.
In terms of mentoring, socialization, and orientation, I helped Hanna by giving her advice. I told her in the beginning of the year how important it was to get involved and join clubs to find friends. I also mentioned that I found my best friends just by walking around on the floor and getting to know other ACES members, so that was my suggestion to her. As she began to build relationships, she was then able to find many friends. In addition, I made sure that she knew she could always ask me questions about anything related to Ohio State such as classes, things to do, or general questions.
I think mentoring a person no matter their age helps to build leadership skills. In many jobs, being able to mentor kids or other employees is an important aspect of the job, so working on this skill early is beneficial for the future. For example, as a teacher, I will be mentoring kids, so even though in this case Hanna is much older than the students I will be teaching, the skills I learned are still applicable. Another benefit of the mentorship program is allowing the first years to feel welcome and feel like they belong on campus. I think having a connection with an older student soon after starting college makes you feel more at ease because you know you can always ask them questions if needed. I certainly felt that when I was a first-year mentee and it helped to relieve a little bit of the stress that came with starting college. Furthermore, in ACES often the first years know each other well and the second years know each other well because each grade lived together their first year, however, the different grades do not know each other well. The mentorship program helps to connect first- and second-years students. Therefore, overall, I think the mentorship program is a wonderful program because it assists the first-year students in their transition to college while allowing second-year students to gain leadership skills.