Renae Carlson, Program Associate at BestPrep and former educator with 30 years of experience in Minnesota schools, discusses the benefits of mentoring for students, and what makes a great mentor (hint: it’s easier than you think) . . .
Q: Have you ever had a mentor, and how have they helped you?
A: I’ve had numerous mentors throughout my life. Mentors help you decide if you like something [as a career]. More than that, mentors show you a bigger realm of what is available to you.
Q: As an educator, how have you seen programs like eMentors and Cloud Coach impact students?
A: eMentors gives students a much clearer sense of what they want to do. For some students, this is the first time they’ve had this conversation with an adult. eMentors lets them talk to an adult in a way they wouldn’t talk to their own parents.
Q: Who is the ideal mentor for a young person? What characteristics do they have?
A: Mentors should be willing to listen to students and answer their questions honestly and from the heart. Anybody that is willing to do that makes a good mentor.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing students today, and what can a mentor do to help?
A: There’s a huge problem with kids facing depression in school, kids on burnout, kids quitting college. They’re told by their counselors and parents, you need to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. And they’re not sure what they’re going to do. Mentors can be the voice that says, when you graduate you don’t have to have your whole life planned. What you go to school for, or where you start out, that’s a stepping stone. It will blossom from there. Figure out what you like to do and go into it and see where it leads you.