On August 29th, 2020, I turned 16 years old. In the middle of a pandemic, no large festivities would be occurring as a part of the celebration, but besides going for a walk in the park I received a rather unusual gift. My father had arranged for me to have monthly meetings with mentors—women and family friends from our church and community. These meetings would be arranged by them, and would serve as a means of passing down generational wisdom and life lessons for my 16th year of life. A quick acceleration of COVID cases made sure that these meetings wouldn’t occur in person or in offices, but from what I’ve been able to conduct so far, these mentor meetings have proven to be a massive learning experience.
One example is my meeting with Kim Price. Prince is a part of the Creative Shop at Facebook who is also building her own creative design firm at the moment. For our virtual meeting she offered me some insight into her process of selecting a team for her team, and the types of creative work that she does. In having a mentor share their experiences searching for jobs, moving through college and giving knowledge about adult life, I feel more prepared for my own future. Prince also emphasized that a lesson she learned in college was that hard work can be lonely, so make friends and take chances! She also spoke to me about the time it took her to find a job that fit right for her skill set and environment she was seeking; “career searching takes time and won’t always be a one-size fits all” was the lesson I learned from this meeting.
One of the benefits of mentorship is that you have a real person to use as a resource. Specifically, a person who will invest in a connection with you to help teach and train you. Whether this is an athletic coach, a tutor, or a family friend like mine, mentors can help uplift you with their valuable experiences. Teens, speak to a mentor figure in your life during these remaining days of January! Ask for help moving through finals season, college decisions, or progressing in a skill in this new year; let us know a positive change a mentor in your life has made for you! Hit me up and send me a message.
By Leah Ollie, Senior, Whitney Young Magnet High School