How to Find a Mentor That Shares My Passions for Social Change
Lets face it, there are many social issues plaguing our society today and becoming actively involved in making changes to all of them can become a bit overwhelming. In fact, the sheer number of movements that you may want to start or become involved with can be paralizing. Trust me, I get it, I want to change them all too and create a more equitable society for all people from all walks of life. However, sometimes we need to step back, take a deep breath, and look at the bigger picture so we can focus and start change one step at a time. Having a narrow focus, with a defined goal and the support to get there allows us to make a bigger impact than spreading ourselves too thin to accomplish much of anything. This is not to say you can not keep up with all social movements, and be a supporter, but sometimes trying to do everything means we don’t do anything well. One effective way to narrow your focus, and set obtainable goals, is to become self aware and find a mentor and support system who will be by your side the whole journey.
Working with a mentor can help your movement. So knowing your identity and your passions is critical to partnering you with a mentor that is the best fit for you and your movement. It is best to work with a mentor that knows your topic very well and is just as passionate about this topic as you are. Follow these few steps to help you successfully find a mentor that shares your passion and is the best fit for you and your movement:
1) Identify Personal Connection
First, ask yourself which of these movements has the greatest personal connection? Think about what it is about this social issue that really bothers you to the core. Have you or someone you care deeply about ever be subject to any of these inequalities?Also, consider how has this issue impacted you and your community at large? If there is something you and your campus are experiencing everyday, you are likely to be really adamant about changing it. It is important to be aware of your identity in the movement. You will play a different role and interact with the movement very differently depending on your identity. For example, a white person will interact and connect with the black lives matter movement differently than a black person. Similarly a straight person with the LGBTQ rights movement. This is not to say they can not be active supports and allies, but they must be aware of their privilege and use it effectively to call others that may have similar privilege into action.
2) Ask Yourself, Who Do I Look Up To?
Ask yourself which leaders you look up to, and why? Now consider why they have been so influential and consider finding a mentor that embodies this and work together to eradicate this social issue. Once are focused, and aware of your identity you can better seek out a mentor the will share your passions. Keep in mind, the most effective support and guidance will come from someone that knows the movement. Not only this, but it increases their ability to provide relevant insight. Also, be sure to be aware of your mentors identity, and consider this strategically. For example it may be in your best interest to choose a mentor that has a different identity than you in the movement, in some cases you may find this helpful to reach more people or to provide you a better education on the topic from other views. However, this is not always the case, you may be most comfortable with a mentor that shares your identity in the movement and that is great too. It 100% your choice and what you are comfortable with.
3) The Search
So now you may be asking how do I actually find a mentor that shares my passions? Well, you are gonna need to do your research. Look into local organizations and campus clubs that might seek to change this. Learn from those already involved, feel free to join them or build a new movement off of what they have started. If there is little being done, that may be a trigger that this social movement needs to be implemented. You can talk to your professor and peers, learn who inspires them, ask yourself what inspired you? Once you can answer these questions start reaching out to leaders or strong believers in the movement, they will want to help you. They actively want to make change too, so they will never turn away someone looking to become involved.
Don’t be paralyzed by the overwhelming number of options available to you. Take a step back, evaluate your connections with the movement and move forward from there. Now you know the answers to the question... "how to find a mentor that shares my passions".
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