Lit Mag

Mentors … Some of the best people in your life!

Mentors come in a lot of ways. And you can find your best ones on all sorts of paths.
Though for a lot of people, their mentors will come from sports via coaches or athletic trainers.
However, for me, that was never a possibility. Maybe it’s because of my lack of athletic abilities, or the fact that I have a lot of older sibling responsibility at home that I can’t just give up to be on a sports team, or maybe the fact that due to those older sister responsibilities that I can never even try out for a team because I can’t make the time commitment it requires, or maybe, most likely, it’s just my pure hatred for shorts (I hate those things), put me in a dress and heels, I’m fine, though I do prefer my jeans, hoodie, and sneakers, I absolutely hate shorts. Enough of that, this was supposed to be about mentors, not my hatred for shorts.
So, here goes…
Whether your mentor is just slightly older than you, a couple years older, or a grown adult, mentors are everywhere and sometimes you don’t really notice them until you take a step back and admire your full, big picture life, from a distance. Tonight, I got my acceptance from my top NY school, Hofstra University, and I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it, I had waited two months past when they had said they would get back to me, but I guess it was worth it. Though at the time, that time being the past two months, it had been really hard. I thought they were going to reject me, that I wasn’t good enough, that if they don’t accept me here then I have absolutely no shot at my #1 school. Here’s where my mentors come into play.
Recently I was asked to give a speech at my uncle’s wedding coming up this May. I am very excited, but it had me thinking about the people I look up to and my mentors, since he has always been one of mine. As one of nine nieces and nephews my uncle has, I realized he had a lot to deal with, but being one of the oldest girls, he’s always been there for me, teaching me about the world, how to play video games, how to beat boys at sports, and just generally looking out for me, especially when we lived close by.  When we moved away, it was a lot harder, I got older, and I felt that protection and mentorship slipping away. What I didn’t realize was that my life had a plan, it provided me a fantastic friend, though he’s more like the older brother I never had, but he’s so much more than just that. My freshmen year, he really was there for me, looked out for me at all costs, dealt with anyone who tried to mess with me, and taught me the ways of high school, I knew I would be okay. I didn’t realize how much I would’ve still needed him my sophomore year, after he had graduated the previous year. But, he was never that far away, though in a different state, he was only a text away, and he’s still one of the best mentors I have that I constantly go to when I need it, but even more so, it proved that mentors can be any age, and any amount older than you, he’s 21 and treats me like an adult but gives me the advice a 17-year-old needs to hear.
Now, for the real reason I wrote this, and the reason I mentioned my acceptance to Hofstra. This year I became friends with one of my teachers who’s getting used to a different type of new than that of which I’m going through, but new nonetheless. And we are making it through together, but there is someone else who’s helped me a lot this year. People know me as someone who can make lasting relationships with people, and for me, it’s absolutely no different with teachers. Honestly, sometimes I think I’m better friends with my teachers than my actual friends. That being said, some of the greatest mentors in my life are some of my teachers, past, present and hopefully future included. One of these being a teacher I had last year, though he’s not currently my teacher, he’s definitely one of my mentors and someone I look up to. Maybe it’s because he had me as a student, that he knows me, or any other factor that it is, but I know that if I have a question he would most likely help me answer it and that I can look up to him and trust him. This year has been hard, between all the college applications, acceptances, and rejections, or just the jam-packed schedule I gave myself, sometimes all I needed was just a pick me up and a laugh or something to make me smile. Nine periods of academics is hard, but this person was exactly that, the right mentor-style person I needed in my life at the time. I may not have a lot of friends in high school, and most of my friends might be graduating college soon, but given the chance, your teachers can be some of your greatest friends and mentors, I’ve experienced this personally.
Earlier this year I was super stressed about starting to receive acceptances and rejections, knowing myself and my grades, I didn’t have too much confidence in myself. But, maybe it was the fact that my teacher knew me, or saw something in me that I hadn’t yet seen in myself, because every time I walked out of his room, I felt better, like I had done enough, and all that I could, and that I would be enough for the school that wanted me as a student. Especially when it came time that I was supposed to hear back from Hofstra. I remember that day, I was super anxious, and nervous, I was supposed to hear back that day, but they hadn’t said or sent me anything. I tried to explain all this to my teacher, he said it was possible that they just needed more time, that they wanted to make sure they were taking all the factors into consideration and not missing anything, though it was easier said than done, he had only applied to one school and obviously got in.
Looking back on it all, especially that day, that was all I needed, I just needed a confidence booster, and though I was severely anxious about it every day until now, I now realize that little thing that he knew before I did. I was good enough for the school that deserved me, and I was a lot smarter than I gave myself credit for.
So while many people find their mentors from sports and in coaches, for me, I think mine come from those that know me, really well, or simply well enough to know what I need to hear and the advice I need at the time. After today, I’m way more appreciative of my mentors in general, but specifically, the one who showed me how people really see me, and how different that is from how I see myself. Thank you for helping me realize I was good and smart enough to get into Hofstra!

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