I wrote this post on my personal blog, few months ago, when I came to the US. I am about to write a post about leadership, JFK and my mentor.
As a Humphrey Fellow we get to use almost all resources of our the Cronkite School and ASU.
But there are certain things that surpass the value of the rest of the resources, like having a faculty member as a mentor.
At the Cronkite School the faculty members are no ordinary people. They are leaders and they are great at what they do. Three weeks ago I was informed that I will be assigned a mentor. Ever since then I have been wondering what it is like to have a person in your life whose only purpose is to be your mentor. Why would someone agree to be a mentor of a complete stranger, an alien?
I already have lots of mentors in my life but they never came as mentors, they were my teachers, my colleagues or bosses and they saw my talent and began guiding me, helping me, motivating me and even appreciating me, they didn’t do it for my just for me, they did it because it helped them or it was their job.
Humphrey Fellows and their mentors are matched through field of work, areas of interests, etc. Fellows come from all over the world, in most cases English is not their first language, so there is always a possibility of facing a language barrier. They are not students, who could be mould, they are professionals in fact leaders who already have certain vision of the world, convictions, religious/political views, certain work ethics, goals, expertise, personal likes and dislikes, etc.
What if I don’t like my mentor? What if he or she doesn’t like me? What if we don’t have similar views about work, politics, religion, America or my home country (Pakistan)? Is he or she going to be like a teacher or a friend or a parent? There was a ceaseless stream of questions.
I asked my coordinator, ‘Why the faculty members agree to be our mentors?’
She replied, ‘Well, they don’t get paid if that’s what you mean. They choose to do it. It is not an obligation.’
Now I am even more curious and then I met my mentor – Aaron Brown.
After meeting him I told myself, ‘There are gazillion things I want to do but I will definitely mentor younger people. Having a mentor is like having your own personal cloud in the blazing heat of Arizona.