Many of you now know that I LOVE Xavier basketball. What you might not know is that back in 2008, I was contacted by someone at Xavier with a request to be a mentor. At first I just chuckled…how could I be a mentor? I replied that it sounded like a great program, but they must be mistaken, because I didn’t qualify as a mentor. The very polite and professional Director of the program said something to me that I only heard as “Oh, honey…you are qualified…you are OLD and you are working.” Ok, so it was nothing like that, but again, that’s what I heard. And then I realized…yep, it had been 10 years since “graduation” – I’ll save the reason for the use of quotes for another Wednesday.
And so I said “Sure” and started reading mentee applications and bios. That’s when I realized the seriousness of the program – due to the depth of the applications that these mentees had written. I played matchmaker for myself based upon what the Director sent me and on March 18, 2008 I got the final email saying that I was now the proud “guidance-giver” to “J”. Yikes! We had our first blind date and it seemed to go really well.
The program was somewhat easy for me – Xavier basically asks that you meet in person 3-4 times a year and that you are available to answer questions via phone calls or email and that you connect them to others in the professional world when possible. I did all of that and we even had her and a friend over for dinner at our house. I told her she could “fire” me at any moment…but she kept me around.
The past 3 years have flown by and I’m happy to report that my mentee is now an XU grad and full-time employee. We’ve had many conversations about her life in general (family, hobbies, vacations, etc.) and decisions she was making about her studies while at Xavier (whether or not to drop the double-major, whether or not to be a part of certain school projects, interviewing tips for internships, etc.).
I was thrilled to have lunch with her downtown yesterday and discover that she’s not only enjoying but doing great in her new job. As always, I brought her a book to add to her “business book” collection. We chatted away over lunch and filled each other in on occurrences since our last meeting right before her graduation last May…way too long ago. Afterwards we embraced with a hug and went our separate ways. I’m already looking forward to the next lunch – we promised to have Thai at Teak on the patio when the warmer weather is here.
I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity. And I’m lucky that my company sees it as an important thing to do – never questioning my time away from the office for the 3-4 meetings each year. It’s been fun to “relive” college life and the start of a career. However, it definitely reminds me that I’m getting older. As we’re discussing the upcoming summer opportunities for her – Party in the Park, activities on Fountain Square, her company’s Kickball League, and her evenings hanging out in Mt. Adams and Mt. Lookout….we discuss my summer – swim lessons, teaching Stella to ride her bike, choosing Michigan over Kiawah for vacation due to the drive time, etc. And right now, although enticing, I wouldn’t trade those activities with her for anything!
I requested to go “inactive” after my mentee graduated last May. With Henry coming in September, I wanted to take a break from the mentoring during that transition. However, I plan to reengage this fall.
For more information on Xavier’s Mentor Program, click HERE.