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Mentoring My story

Updated on March 5, 2013

For two years now I have been mentoring an online college student. There have been frequent breaks because of her children's needs. Soon it will be time return to mentoring so she can complete her college degree. Mentoring someone in business proved easier because it requires less studying to keep up to date. This took less of my time than a college student does. With a business owner there isn't as much time demand because there is less memory refreshing required.

Reading has already been started to bring me up to date on the subjects she will be studying this term. This has been done with every course, because being up to date matters. Keeping things in memory is also hard when you don’t use what you know everyday. Any use of materials refreshed for these courses, for articles, will be unintentional. There won’t be time to do the necessary research, write articles on them, and keep her on schedule.

She is working part time so my writing will have to be done while taking care of her children while she works. Late nights when everyone is sleeping will be another option. Mentoring takes time and is more important than article writing or anything else when you really care that your student succeeds. Luckily she lives with me now so there will be no more daily trips down the road to be there with her while she is doing her school work. Taking care of the children while she works is a pleasure also.

There will be more outside time for me now. It’s enjoyable sitting on the deck and watching the wildlife in the field and tree line across the street. Being bored won’t be possible as this time will be spent keeping up to date with her subjects, watching the three children who live here, and discussing schoolwork with my student when her ideas and what her teacher wants are not the same. Watching the sunrise will be a problem, it’s hard to get up at sunrise when you don’t get to bed until a few hours before the sun peeks over the treetops.

As part of the plan we have devised there are plans to have a garden this year, it will be the first one for me in eight years. The idea is to mentor the children in where food comes from and something active for them to do. One of the thoughts too is they will be at least partly wore out and won't be a problem when it's time for schoolwork. No one here wants the children growing up believing food is made in the back of a grocery store as my son did either.

The oldest child can get me back and forth to our garden plot where crawling through the rows won’t be a problem. How the gardening is going to work with a three, four, and seven year old will be interesting to see. Even if they uproot everything it will be all right as busy children don’t have time to get in too much trouble. Where we are going to find the time for all this no one is sure.

One thing that will help is this particular online college runs in eight week segments where the last one had five and a half week sessions. Both of our stress levels were high with those short classes and there was way too little time for her with the children. Her classes for this session, Business Law and Accounting.

Mentoring is something some students feel they need, especially with online courses. When they have someone who knows the subject to talk to, many potential problems are easier to deal with. Understanding everything asked by a professor is in many cases not possible without a second mind looking things over and explaining.

There are still times when it is necessary to ask an instructor exactly what they want. As a mentor it has been part of my duties to handle this. Teachers look back, they know the material. Students are looking forward, many have no understanding of the subject. As a mentor the material is known, however how the professor wants it presented is not. This is what is sorted out in these conversations. Using this approach the student being mentored has been able to keep a 4.0 grade average.

Sharing what we know makes life easier for those who have yet to learn. In many cases students learn no only the subject but better study habits and a grasp of the subject that wouldn't be possible without mentoring.


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