January is Mentoring Month, just in time for the beginning of a new year! New beginnings mean new opportunities, and becoming a mentor is a great way to support UGA students as the semester begins.
In honor of International Mentoring Day on January 17th, we spoke with UGA mentee and UGA Mentor Program Ambassador Moira La Fuente (Class of 2024) and her UGA mentor Melissa Adomako (BS ’13) about their experience in the program and why they believe others can benefit too.
Why did you first choose to engage with the Mentor Program?
Melissa: I have always been passionate about mentoring and coaching students. Even as a UGA student, I served as a resident assistant, mentoring younger students. The Mentor Program stood out to me because it was a structured way to connect with students and meet people who have similar interests to mine.
Moira: Mentorship allowed me to be focused on my career. My major is very broad, so having a mentor with experience in different sectors was really important to my professional growth. Having Melissa as an example has been really helpful.
What has been the most meaningful part of your experience?
Moira: Connecting on things that are not strictly just professional has been incredibly meaningful to me. Melissa was an international student like I am, so we have connected through shared experiences beyond just career paths.
Melissa: This relationship has truly blossomed into a friendship. Even though it is a short-term mentoring relationship, I can see our mentorship continuing on throughout our lives. Moira can always reach out to me regardless of what path she decides to take.
What have you gotten out of the program thus far?
Moira: I have gained a broader perspective on the different types of jobs that are available for my major. After connecting with mentors, I have realized there is much more to my major than I ever thought.
Melissa: Staying connected with young people makes me feel young! I am always on the lookout for opportunities to share with Moira and other mentees, and I always try to find connections to my mentee. It keeps me curious and wanting to make more connections.
What is your favorite part of the UGA Mentor Program?
Melissa: For me, it’s getting to talk to younger people and advising them on things that I would have done differently when I was in their shoes. When I was at UGA, we did not have the Mentor Program, so I did not have people to reach out to who were in established careers. I wanted to be a resource, because I did not have that.
Moira: The accessibility is very appealing. As a student living in Athens, I did not think I would be able to connect with a professional like Melissa who travels frequently. Having accessibility to someone who is in the field you want to be in, regardless of location, is very good.
Why do you think that more mentees and mentors should participate in the program?
Moira: More mentees should enroll in the Mentor Program because it is not only about professional growth, but also personal growth. It’s a great coaching relationship.
Melissa: More mentors should join the program to share wisdom. It is always good for older people to share their knowledge with younger people and provide them with a sense of community outside of Athens. Both of my mentees have been absolutely wonderful.
January, National Mentoring Month, is a terrific time to become a mentor and contribute to the lives of UGA students. You might be amazed how much YOU get out of giving back in this way! Learn more at mentor.uga.edu.