On the Journey – Student Responses

A high school mentor program that I coordinate teaches students networking skills, how to conduct informational interviews and find a mentor. The learning is very practical and independent. Early in the term, students are challenged as they engage in activities in the professional realm that are very different from learning in a classroom.

A simple question about where each student finds him or herself in the process of finding a mentor (the stated goal) yields silence or a response such as fine. When asked to choose an image and share how it reflects where s/he is in the process, doors open into a different reality; we learn that, in many cases, things are not fine.

The image of “footprints in the snow” led one student to acknowledge that she is on the path and that she gets discouraged when calls are not returned and the mentor has not manifested. The image was an inspiration to stay on the path and keep up the momentum so that she can reach her goal.

A student who had no response when simply asked where she was in the process of finding a mentor, acknowledged she was “stuck” when she drew the image of a kite in a tree. She wanted to be “released” to take action to move forward. When asked what would allow her to be released, she came up with a list of people and resources that would support her to move toward finding a mentor. Identifying these resources shifted her from hopelessness to excitement.

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