Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Each one help one - part II

Venturing into life outside of the “Bluffton Bubble” can be a bit unnerving. Do you remember that day, sitting with friends and classmates in hot, black robes, listening to someone give inspiring and motivational words and all you can think is “Oh crap! I’m not a college student anymore. Now what?”

Those of us who have adapted to life after Bluffton have the opportunity to ease the transition for others through by mentoring through the College Central Network offered by Bluffton’s Career Development Center.

What qualifications does one need to be a mentor? I’ve heard mentors be described as “not an expert – but somebody willing to share the journey.” What a great definition. Share the journey. That I can do. Just please don’t look to me as someone who has all the answers.

Mentors can be older – sharing what they are looking for in an employee, a colleague, how to network, etc. Mentors can be fresh out of college – sharing how they started over, made new friends, found a job, selected a graduate school, etc.

What’s nice about the Mentoring Network is that you say how involved you want to be. You can post “words of wisdom” for others to read or make yourself available to allow someone to job shadow, provide networking contacts, agree to visit with Bluffton students or even serve as an internship host… If you don’t feel comfortable with any of the options, you just don’t select it. Mentors share only as much information about themselves as they are comfortable sharing.

There will even be an option for Program H.O.M.E, the second part of the student-of-color mentoring program mentioned earlier in this blog. Juniors and seniors who serve as mentors to incoming first-year students will themselves be mentored by alumni of color.

Kathy Dickson, director of the Career Development Center, is excited about the possibilities of the Mentoring Network. Interested students can search the mentors by career interest or location, and make connections based on what the mentors are willing to do. “It will basically run itself. It has amazing potential.”

Professors, parents, staff can all give students suggestions when they start their job search. “But to hear it from someone in the field,” said Kathy. “That’s priceless.”

Interested in signing up for the Mentoring Network? Contact Kathy Dickson at to receive the password.

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