Alumni Relations hosts 30 minute mentoring program

Amber Ainsworth/MJ
Amber Ainsworth/MJ

AMBER AINSWORTH, Staff Writer

You’ve done your time here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. You’re nearing the end of your journey at the school. A career or grad school is just around the corner. It’s a bit intimidating isn’t it?

Luckily, University of Michigan-Dearborn works actively to be of assistance to students both during their journey at the university to preparing to graduate and enter into their fields, and beyond.

On Thursday, April 3, the Alumni Relations held their 30-Minute Mentors program. The event is something that occurs both fall and winter semesters, giving students the chance to sit down and talk one on one with a former student of the university that is in the field the student plans to enter after college.

Students were able to read bios on the mentors prior to the event and choose a mentor that they felt would be of best help for their questions concerning their major, their field, and their career. Mentors, who each met with five students throughout their shift, were chosen and contacted by the Office of Alumni Relations to fill the vital roles.

Alisa Bennett, a healthcare worker at Blue Cross, was just one of those mentors that students had the chance to speak to during the day. Bennett has been called on before to help another student. When a colleague told her about the 30-Minute Mentors, she figured that she kept getting pointed in the mentor direction so she might as well check into the program.

This semester’s event was her first time mentoring and she was enjoying being able to talk with students and help them in forming their endeavors.  According to Bennett, she sees her job as a mentor to not convince students of what they should be doing, but to help them navigate through the processes.

The opportunity can be used to help a student focus on a path or reaffirm a journey they are already intending on taking.

For senior Kent Douglas, the 30 minutes he spent with a mentor helped him to narrow down what he plans to do with his sociology and political science major when he graduates.

Douglas said the event was valuable to him because, “They [the mentors] are in a different standpoint in their life experience.”

By talking with someone who has been through it before, he was able to finally get specific questions answered that he usually has no time for due to a large amount of commitments in his life that have prevented him from really thinking about the future.

Criminal Justice major Doaa Al-Howaishy has been to two other 30-Minute Mentors prior to the day’s event. For her, talking to a mentor has helped her in remembering to follow her dreams and choose a career path that she is passionate about.

Al-Howaishy has always known she wanted to go into law when she transferred to UM-Dearborn from a community college. She was able to talk to a mentor who is a lawyer. They offered the advice of never listening to external pressures when deciding where you want to go in life.

Though Al-Howaishy has always known not to listen to what others may say about what she wants to do, she said it’s always good to hear it from someone who has already been there and done what she intends on doing.

Ely Sagansay was so impacted through mentor programs at UM-Dearborn that he signed up to see a mentor during Thursday’s sessions. The junior studying accounting and finance recently attended an event where alumni discussed what to expect when you graduate college.

Events focused on assisting students maneuver the transition from college to career help to keep students organized and focused on their future.

Sagansay said, “A lot of fresh college grads come out like chickens without heads.”

He believes mentor programs help alleviate some of this confusion and stress that is put on many recent graduates.

It’s no doubt that meeting with someone that has already experienced what students are about to encounter is essential for a smooth shift into their futures.

Students interested in participating in future 30-Minute Mentor programs will be able to during the fall semester. For more information on Alumni Relations at the school, including upcoming events, visit umd.umich.edu/alumni.