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Ecologists tell us that a tree planted in a clearing of an old forest will grow more successfully than one planted in an open field. The reason, it seems, is that the roots of the forest tree are able to follow the pathways created by former trees and thus embed themselves more deeply. Over time, the roots of many trees may actually graft themselves to one another, creating an interdependent mat of life hidden beneath the earth. This literally enables the stronger trees to share resources with the weaker so the whole forest becomes healthier. (Zachary, L.J., 2000, p. 13)
Similarly, human beings thrive best when we grow in the presence of those who have gone before. Our roots may not follow every available pathway, but we are able to become more fully ourselves because of the presence of others. "I am who I am because we are," goes the saying, and mentors are a vital part of the often invisible mat of our lives. (Zachary, L.J., 2000, p. 13)
Great mentors extend the human activity of care beyond the bounds of the family. They impart lessons in the art of living. They see us in ways that we have not been seen before. And at their best they inspire us to reach beyond ourselves; they show us how to make a positive difference in a wider world. (Zachary, L.J., 2000, p. 13)
As Mentors, we will explore our own capacities for establishing genuine trust with others and we will listen with real respect and compassion.
The Lakeland College Mentoring Program is being established to assist new students with a successful transition to college life. The program provides new students with an opportunity to develop a unique relationship with a fellow student - a relationship that will serve to enrich their first year at Lakeland College.
The Mentor Program will begin during "Welcome Week" with a reception hosted by the Mentors to welcome their new students to campus. Additional individual and large group activities will continue throughout the year, and will vary depending upon the interests of each person and the relationships that are developed. The fundamental purpose of all activities is to help new students feel connected to the Lakeland College community, and to make their first year in college a positive and successful experience.
Lakeland College Mentors are upper-class students who have already experienced the trials, frustrations, questions, concerns and triumphs of the first year of college. These students will volunteer their time to be a Mentor because they deeply care about the students at Lakeland College. Their main goal as a Mentor is for their Mentee to be a success in college. Mentors can be a good source of information, help, and friendship. One of the goals of our Mentor Program is for new students and mentors to develop an open, friendly, and engaging line of communication.
The program will assist the new students with their transition to college life, will support them during the difficult times, provide them with guidance and advice, and will ultimately help make their college experience both successful and satisfying.
All first-time, full-time new students will be asked to participate in this program. Selected new first-time, full-time transfer students with less than 12 credits will also be asked to participate.
The most rewarding part of being a Lakeland College Mentor is the chance to purposefully help an incoming freshman adjust to college life and have a positive first-year experience.
It will take place during the student's first semester at Lakeland College. (Some relationships extend on to the second semester and sometimes beyond!)
Mentoring begins upon the new freshman's arrival on the Lakeland College campus.
Lakeland College Mentors will receive many personal benefits. Among the most important is the personal satisfaction of knowing that they helped a new student become authentically engaged in the life of the college. In addition, the friendships and relationships that are built and sustained over time are likely to have a meaningful, long-lasting impact on the lives of everyone involved in the program.
Any current upper-classman who is willing to regularly invest some of their personal time to assist several of our new freshmen with their transition into college life during their first full term at Lakeland. We would like all Mentors to attend an Orientation session at the beginning of the semester, some group activities, individual activities and a final evaluation session at the end of the term.
You can stop in the Student Life Office in the Campus Center and see Sally Bork, call her at x1531, or e-mail her at email@example.com.