When I began my MSW last fall, I specifically remember one student in particular who (for whatever reason) reached out to me and “showed me the ropes.” She was kind, compassionate, and really listened to me. She offered genuine advice and feedback on which classes to take, how to fit in work + field + classes + homework + student group involvement + life. To be honest, this second year student helped me to feel at home much more quickly than if I hadn’t had her to bounce ideas off of or explore my own curiosities and anxieties within the program.
After being elected as the Student Association Clinical Track Representative, I realized this was my chance to possibly put something in place for the class that followed mine to have a similar experience I had. After talking with the Macro Track Representative, Laura Evanoff, we decided to brainstorm ways this could happen. With a proposal in place, we approached our fellow Student Association officers and with unified approval and excitement, we developed a Mentoring Committee within Student Association.
Over ninety (about sixty incoming and thirty continuing) students contacted us wanting to be a part of this program. Second year MSW students had an opportunity to mentor a couple of incoming MSW students and gain experience while incoming students were given the opportunity to be welcomed by a friendly face who had been in their shoes a year before.
I have to say, having been a mentor this year to at least two new students, I have loved this experience. I got to know them well through emails, coffee chats, and lunch get-togethers. I loved hearing about how their experiences have been thus far, the types of questions they had, and struggles they were experiencing. The most rewarding factor though was simply finding myself grateful to have an opportunity to share with someone else the kindness, patience and guidance that was shown to me for my first semester in grad school.