I’m a big believer in personal empowerment. I feel we humans have limitless potential, although we don’t always see it in ourselves, or each other. Believing is often the first hurdle. Empowerment usually requires two believers, yourself and someone who believes in you.
That is where a good mentor comes in. I’ve had some wonderful mentors. Some probably never suspected they were mentors. Some of their lessons took years to sink in, but I am grateful to all of them. So, I do my best to honor them by being a mentor myself. That’s why I enjoy working with student organizations.
With student organizations, I get to teach them more than just textbook skills, like where to put a comma. When I serve as an advisor for a student organization like the FNU Student Government Association, I have the opportunity to really mentor.
Mentoring is a very delicate balancing act, though. As a mentor, those looking up to you are expecting guidance and I do my best to provide them with developmental opportunities. At the same time, empowerment requires room to grow: a safe environment to test these new skills. So at times, I make myself a little scarce, giving them the chance to figure it out for themselves. After all, that’s the true purpose of student organizations—to give students the opportunity to develop skills outside of the classroom, to allow students to explore their own leadership abilities, and to inspire other students to do the same.