We’re always looking for mentors in life, whether it has to do with PR or a completely different area. Oftentimes, it’s intimidating to reach out to said mentor in fear of being annoying or lacking anything relevant to say. Even finding a mentor in the first place can be a somewhat daunting task.
I spent the last month in Athens, Ohio working as a mentor under the title of Bobcat Student Orientation Leader. I worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day scheduling students, answering questions, calming parents’ fears and helping the entire orientation process run smoothly.
My favorite part of this experience was the role I served in helping the incoming Bobcats get acclimated to campus and life as a college student. My green polo served as a sign that I was there to help and they could ask me anything. I worked with the Scripps College of Communication so I met a lot of journalism and PR students who were interested in the advice I had to give.
Here are a few things I realized from serving as their mentor this summer:
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from just about anyone. People love to talk about themselves and pull from their prior experiences to help others out. When my students asked me about different organizations they could get involved in, I got really excited and wanted to tell them about all of the great opportunities one can find within the Scripps College.
When a mentor tells you to reach out, they actually mean it. I gave my email address out to all of my orientation students and I truly hope that they use it to reach me throughout the year. I would love questions, but I would also love a status update about how their semester is going.
Successful people want others to succeed as well. If you’ve chosen someone as a mentor, chances are you think they’ve got it together and you want them to shower you with wisdom (and internship/job leads). Your mentor wants you to be successful and will do all they can to a reasonable extent to aid in your journey toward success, whatever that may be for you.
A simple thank-you goes a long way. After teaching my group of students the ways of Ohio University and Scripps and scheduling and meal plans and residence halls and tips for the fall all day long and then waking up early the next morning to help them make a complete schedule, a thank-you was much appreciated. It meant a lot to me when a student finished scheduling and walked over to me to say thank-you and goodbye. I felt like my words and actions of the past 24 hours actually made an impact.
After serving as a mentor this summer, I feel much more confident that my attempt to network with professionals will be better received than I initially would have thought. The mentor/mentee relationship is simple, really. Ask someone to coffee. Ask a PR pro if they can give you some advice. Ask if you can keep in touch. More often than not, the answer will be an overwhelming yes.
-Kerry Tuttle is a junior majoring in public relations with specializations in marketing and international business. Keep up with Kerry at @kerrtut.