Author: Taylor Leslie
I never really quite understood the power of mentorship before college. Never would I have guessed how big of an impact the upperclassmen would have made in my time at Butler. We all know those people. The juniors and seniors who showed us the ropes when we barely knew anything about college or what comes with it. The ones who take you under their wings and let you know that if you ever need anything they got you. Having these types of role models are important at any university but especially at a PWI. As a young Black student the one thing I needed to see were other young Black women and men making major moves on my campus and wanted to see me make moves too. Now that I am an upperclassman I understand that it is now my time to be that support system and role model to the incoming class. So to my class of 2018 and the other upperclassmen reading this here are some things I believe are important when understanding the role you can play in the lives of some of the incoming students.
- Be a mentor. Whether you’re in the same major as an underclassman or maybe from the same hometown try to make a connection with at least one student. Take the time to actually get to know them so when they’re having difficulty they have no problem coming to you.
- Be a friend. We’re all in college and we know how lame Butler’s party culture can be. Therefore it is up to us to save them from some of those boring nights. Butler doesn’t have the biggest black population, but when we do get together it’s definitely a good time and we want the incoming students to know that there are places they can come to listen to “our music”.
- Set an example. Now as much as we turn up at the parties we need to show students that we turn up in those books. Invite students to come and study with you. Ask them about their grades. Let them know the importance of actually going to class, being on time, and being focused.
- Get them involved. Butler’s Black students are some of the most involved on the campus. Whether it’s Greek life, Student Government, Sports, or even job opportunities make sure you spread the word to incoming students. Encourage them to come to your events. The best way to get acclimated to any new situation is to get active.
Remember the influence that you have as a student of color on your campus. We still have many more barriers to break down for Black students who haven’t even stepped foot on the campus yet. And to those graduated mentors and friends that we all have had; thank you for paving the way for us. It is now our time to be the leaders of our campus and help guide a new class of students.