If you could write a letter to your 14-year old self, what would you say?
What’s the power of a mentor? For some of us, it’s hard flashing back to our high school years because those moments in time have faded deep into the depths of our memories. However, for our junior and senior mentors participating in the JSY Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program, the ability to reflect on their freshman year is still very much in reach. As an exercise, we ask the JSY mentors to write a letter to their freshman self. What do they know now that they wished they had known then?
The goal is for students to understand how their own life experiences can serve as teachable moments for their freshmen mentees, who may be facing similar challenges as they did at that age. Being teenagers themselves, it also helps them to carefully consider next steps when making decisions, so that they fully comprehend how the choices they make now will impact their lives tomorrow.
Here are just a few powerful responses written by our peer-to-peer mentors:
“Focus on what you want in life and work hard for it,”
“Know your worth,”
“You are loved; you are not alone,”
“Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.”
MentorLife is a concept we teach in the program, which means students always have someone investing in them, and in turn, they invest in others. We then expand it beyond the classroom. Our students learn that mentorship does not have to stop at the JSY Peer-to-Peer program; it does not have to stop within the classroom walls; it does not have to stop when they graduate. MentorLife is something that can always be a part of their life. Allow yourself to be mentored, and pay it forward by mentoring others.
In one of our student’s own words:
Knowing what you know now, ask yourself, “If I could write a letter to my 14-year old self, what would I say?” and more importantly, “Am I sharing my story with someone who may benefit from hearing it?”