After meeting my mentor at the kick-off event, despite my knowledge that they have had numerous experiences in fields that I am interested in, I was still inexplicably skeptical that I would be able to work the relationship in a way that would be educational and positive for the two of us. I knew I needed to keep an open heart to make this work. With this in mind, I jumped into my next two meetings with my mentor to figure out some goals.
Lunch is Good
At the kick-off event, my mentor and I had scheduled a time to meet up for lunch before the next College Connect event. As it turned out, this was a spectacular idea. My mentor showed up with numerous ideas to involve me in their work process, so I can learn the different aspects of the positon. What better way to learn about a specific job in a specific environment than to get in and observe? Besides discussing ways to make this a real mentor/mentee relationship, we were able to talk about common interests. I found out that my mentor has spent time in the past participating in theatre, as I do currently. Overall, I was glad I gave our relationship a second chance, as my mentor and I were beginning to relate to one another much more easily.
Upon arrival to the second College Connect event (hosted at UMD this time) many of the mentors and mentees were confused as to what was going on that night. Originally, we were supposed to have a dining etiquette night, but our event registration was titled “Speed Networking,” which was what we did at our first event. With a skeptical crowd piled into a lecture hall, the organizers of the College Connect program surprised us with a good lesson.
To open the event, we watched an advertisement that showed a company doing a “normal” interview with people, before switching it up and creating an interview that went through things such as the interviewer collapsing, a fire drill, and a person jumping from a building into a firefighter trampoline. The oddities and invalidity aside, the advertisement has a point. Good interviews should leave the employer with knowledge about the person they interviewed. Will the person fit in with the goals and vision of the company?
With those ideas in mind, we spent the rest of the event talking with our mentors and other mentors about our “brand.” What are you passionate about? Can you effectively communicate that passion to a stranger? After discussing passions, we took turns practicing listening skills. We were only allowed to ask questions, and not allowed to insert any comments. These communication practice sessions were useful tools to discover the different aspects that go into an interview. The person being interviewed can control the conversation to play into their strengths by answering questions in a way that directs questions toward your passions.
So far, I feel the College Connect program has been a successful endeavor. I have learned a number of lessons about myself, including the willingness to open up to someone outside of my age range, communicating effectively, starting random conversation, and discussing strengths.
Of Possible Interest:
- The Missing Milestone: Finding a Mentor
- Mentors: We Can’t All be Superhuman
- The Introvert’s Guide to Networking