Experts agree that establishing quality mentoring relationships can drive an individual’s success as a college student, as well as enhance a graduate’s chances of success in the work world.
It’s why St. Joseph’s College has long recognized the importance of fostering such relationships between its students and alumni. And it’s the reason for the College’s increased efforts this year with SJCmentor, a program that makes it simple for mentees to match with mentors.
“SJCmentor is a special program, in that it bridges the gap and connects SJCNY alumni and students to each other,” said Allison Schmidt, assistant director of alumni engagement at SJC Long Island. “Students can learn from an alumnus’ professional career, and alumni, vice versa, are able to hear from the student the opportunities and activities they are able to avail themselves of today at the school.
“There is learning happening in both directions, which is a really great thing,” she added.
SJCmentor gives mentors and mentees opportunities to connect for professional development and guidance on school, the professional job search, and post-grad life. Participants are typically matched according to their respective majors and careers.
In many cases, mentees are able to shadow or intern with their mentor at the mentor’s company or employer. Often the mentoring relationship develops into a professional relationship and a lifelong friendship.
Considering the existing virtual environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly important for SJCmentor to make it easier for mentors and mentees to connect. To accomplish this, St. Joseph’s now houses SJCmentor on a virtual platform called SJCNY Connect at SJCNYconnect.com.
Here’s how the mentoring program works
A mentee or mentor creates an account on SJCNY Connect and develops a profile. Initial contact is made by the mentee (student and/or young alumnus), in which they will message an alumna/us who has selected “willing to help” on their SJCNY Connect profile.
Alumni engagement staffers at St. Joseph’s monitor and oversee the mentoring relationships.
“The mentorship program is important because we want our students to be ready for the professional world ahead of them,” said Neil Gouveia, associate director of alumni engagement at SJC Brooklyn. “The College’s nursing and educational programs produce essential workers that will directly impact the world we live in. We want them to be as prepared as possible, and what better way than to have members from the SJC alumni community serve as their mentors.”
As part of National Mentoring Month during January, the College’s alumni engagement staff is making a push to get more people involved in SJCmentor.
Mentor’s responsibilities when participating in SJCmentor.
- When a student and/or alumni requests you as your mentor, please answer “yes” if you have the time and opportunity to do so within your schedule.
- Provide student and/or alumni mentees a realistic view of your job and/or profession.
- The mentee is the driving force in the mentoring relationship, meaning that as much effort and energy they put in, they should receive back from their mentor.
- Mentors are life-long learners and good listeners as well. They should want to pass those traits on to their mentees.
- Mentors should be able to provide feedback and constructive criticism of mentees’ career decisions.
Mentee’s responsibilities in SJCmentor
- In order to participate in the mentoring program, students and/or alumni must request a mentor through SJCNY Connect.
- When requesting a mentor, send a clear, personal and memorable message to the person.
- Provide career ambitions and goals in your initial message.
- If the person agrees to be a mentor, respond back to them within 24-48 hours.
Once a mentee has established a connection with a mentor, it is important for the mentee to be present and committed in the mentee/mentor relationship, act professionally and respectfully with their mentor, plan at least three meetings a semester and always have a prepared agenda or set questions ready for when they interact with their mentor.