WEBER & MORRIS: Make the Most of Your Mentors
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 02:10
It was the kind of night sophomore year for one of us when everything seemed to be going wrong — an experience we all encounter at some point.
I was walking home during my sophomore year, stressed and anxious. I ran through the last hour in my head: I had lost my temper and, with it, my sense of self. I spotted one of the seniors I looked up to the most on the Hilltop. He had been my Georgetown tour guide, essentially welcoming me to my new home. A local of my Midwestern hometown, he seemed to have it all — the friends, the jobs, the experiences and an outgoing personality.
Naturally, I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I cast my head down and attempted to scurry past with little more than a quick “hello,” but he stopped me and asked me what was wrong.
It didn’t take long for me to spill everything. The sophomore slump, with the harder classes and the friendship challenges, all seemed to be hitting me at once. I kept apologizing for burdening this awesome senior with problems that I was sure he’d never had.
Sitting me down on the Gervase stone wall, he quickly got to the bottom of my issues. In turn, I soon realized that I hadn’t understood the whole story about what it’s like to be a Georgetown student, let alone a successful one.
I don’t remember all the details of our conversation that night, but I do remember him assuring me that he knew what I was going through. We have both realized that those people to whom we look up here at school have all been frustrated at some point as well. That kid in your government class who appears to have all the answers? Well, he doesn’t. That student leader with all the confidence? We can guarantee he still gets nervous when standing up in front of a group of his peers. And those student athletes who make us all cheer with their game-winning goals or three-pointers? Their hearts were no doubt pounding.
No one has everything figured out — all students face the same insecurities, the same worries and the same concerns that you do. They get nervous on first dates, freak out before job interviews and are unsure where they’ll be after graduation. And they’ve struggled through a rough October, too.
In high school, we grow up considering our teachers, our family friends and all the adults in our life as shining examples of mentorship. They’re the people we want to become, the ones that we want to emulate when we become (gasp!) “real” people. We idolize them.
Yet when you arrive at college, you quickly understand that your parents probably won’t be on call at 2 a.m. to tell you whether or not to call GERMS for a friend. They might not understand the full-blown horror that is a 12-page philosophy paper, and they probably haven’t faced the dilemma of what in the world to text that kid back.
Maybe your mentor won’t be a senior; maybe he or she will be someone in the grade above you, or it could even someone who’s already been through the tough times that you’re experiencing.
Whoever it is, they’ll be there for you because they’ve been in your shoes. Even after they leave the Hilltop, they’ll be looking out for you. Just last week, one of us received a phone call from a mentor who graduated in 2011. He was on one of his few days off, being a second-year analyst at his job, and he had just called to check in to see how life was going. We hadn’t spoken in awhile, and he was wondering if I’d chosen to go back full-time to the company where I’d interned this past summer.
It’s connections like those that will continue beyond the Hilltop. Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than having a mentor here at Georgetown is having the opportunity to become one for someone in a few years.
So reach out to someone you look up to, whomever that may be. Make it a priority in your first two years here — you never know who you’ll discover on a stressful walk home.
Lauren Weber is a senior in the College. She is chair of the Board of Directors for The Hoya. John Morris is a senior in the College. He is chair of the Board of Directors for Students of Georgetown, Inc. LETTERS TO OUR FRESHMAN SELVES appears every other Friday.