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Mentorship Matters

There was an influencer I follow on social media that received criticism when she posted a screenshot of email from someone on twitter requesting her to be their mentor out of mockery of the individual's request of her. It raised the question in my mind of what we are obligated to do as humans for others. Is it our obligation to mentor others, and should we seek out mentors?

When I was a student at the Naval Academy in the early 2000s, it was a tradition for the all the black female students from all four classes to meet at the beginning of the academic year to ensure the freshmen knew they had immediate mentors and support. The seniors called the meeting because they felt it was their obligation to ensure we freshmen knew we weren’t alone and offered help with things like hair upkeep, identifying those in the group who were strong in certain academic subject areas for extra tutoring, and even tips of survival in the demanding environment at USNA.

In that initial interaction the the mentor-mentee relationship was formed. The seniors did not have to call the meeting and in fact they were never forced to do so. They rather thought it was their duty and obligation to ensure those behind them had the support and tools to also one day reach their final year.

Throughout my time at my Alma mater, Naval career, and now as a military faculty at USNA I have held on to this notion of mentoring. I can wholeheartedly say that I achieved what I have in life because I had mentors along my journey, and they have been diverse in their race, gender, and even religious beliefs. Diversity in mentors is key because I believe it is promotes understanding of others who do not look like you which is important more than ever right now.

Also, along my journey I have taken on a host of mentees because I have always felt a duty to help others as those who have helped me. I have always said that my success will never be the titles I hold or the valuables I attain, but rather the fruit my tree bears. My fruit being the people who have asked me to be their mentor walking with them along their journey whether for a short period or life. It is my full obligation and duty to mentor others. I challenge you to look and find a way to mentor someone or to find a mentor to be apart of your village!

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