Waiting for my mentor
Waiting for my mentor
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2009.09.02 14:23
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Aristotle and Alexander the Great. Dr. Dre and Eminem. Freddie Laker and Richard Branson. Question time. What do these pairs have in common? Teachers and students? Maybe “yes” for Aristotle and Alexander the Great, but definitely “no” for Dr. Dre and Eminem. Dr. Dre was the producer of Eminem’s multi-platinum albums, which helped him create a sensation in the hip-hop world. The answer is the pairs were in mentoring relationships.

The word “mentor” has a very wide meaning; a mentor can be a teacher, counselor, or simply a more experienced person. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin group, met Freddie Laker, a British airline entrepreneur, when he was trying to set-up an airline company, which later was named Virgin Blue. The two had lunch together, and Laker shared his experience at competing British airlines. Virgin Blue is currently Australia’s second-biggest airline. The story tells us meeting with a mentor at the right time in life can be extremely helpful, and is a key to success.

Mentoring is especially important to women who try to go out in the world. It has not even been 50 years in Korea since women started to work outside the home. Women in the peak of their careers at present are the forerunners of their time. They have been fighting against sexual discrimination. These pioneers need to guide and advise the younger generation to continue the societal changes they have begun.

Ewha seems to understand the importance of mentoring. The school has been running mentoring programs such as Ewha Dawoori and the WISE program. Sophomores and juniors are recruited as mentors in the Dawoori program. They have regular meetings with freshmen to advise them in everything from university life to career planning. The WISE program is devised to mentor female high school students who are interested in the field of science. Ewha undergraduate students are working as mentors helping high school students writing science papers.

They are good programs, but insufficient for the about 20,000 students at Ewha. The Dawoori program is more like a student service for freshmen, and the sophomores and juniors can only give limited mentoring. There should be a connection between Ewha undergraduates and socially active graduates, who can provide students with a vivid picture of the world outside university. Students need someone who can tell them the story of how they chose their professions and how they overcame the hardships they faced as women.

Every semester, the school comes up with creative programs that benefit students. It is a matter of time before that school introduces a brand new mentoring program, covering all students. Remember, we have 170,000 Ewha graduates who are potential mentors to our students.

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