Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't Judge a Book by Its Major

I learned something valuable yesterday evening about judging people before getting all necessary information:

I am a Peer Mentor for the Latino Center here on campus. Yesterday evening we had a meeting where the Counselors of the LC had to regroup mentors and mentees. In doing so, they paired me with my original two mentees plus another new mentee. The new mentee did not look happy that I was her mentor. She didn't even look at me at first.

She immediately said, "What's your major?" When I told her Occupational Therapy she looked agitated and raised her hand to comment. She suggested that the Counseling center provide the mentees with a website that allows them to review a mentor's biography so that they can choose their own mentor based on their goals. She commented that although she is sure I am a good mentor she is a Criminal Justice major and needs a Criminal Justice mentor who can help her achieve her goals and guide her through coursework.

The Counselors told her that they take all of these things into consideration before matching mentors and mentees, along with personality traits and the ability of the mentor to find valuable resources. I saw this young lady approach a Counselor to talk and so I approached as well.

I told the Counselor and the young lady that she did not give me a chance to help her. She doesn't know who I know or what connections I have. Truth be told, I know a TON of people in law enforcement, along with lawyers and other people in the criminal justice system. I could have EASILY connected her with someone who would be a resource once she graduates. Additionally, I am the Queen of free money for education. My schooling is free thus far because I try harder than anyone else and ask more questions than anyone else to get money to pay for my education.

The Counselor tried to explain to her that they have a police officer for her to speak but she can't call him and discuss school matters. That's why she needs me as a mentor. I then immediately told the Counselor and the young lady that this mentor/mentee relationship would not work for me, based on the fact that she didn't give me a chance to assist her, I'm not willing to help at this point and we would both need to be reassigned.

Although I understood the young lady's fears about not getting the resources that she needs what bothered me was that she did not look at me, she did not introduce herself and, most importantly, SHE DIDN'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS. It seems to me that the most logical thing to do first is ask WHY the Counselors paired you with a mentor when you specifically asked for something else. Once you have that information the second thing you do is talk to the mentor, tell them your goals and find out if they can help you or provide you with resources. If they cannot help you THEN you raise your hand and say this is not going to work for me. It's unfortunate that she missed out on an opportunity to have access to the criminal justice system through my contacts.

So, I learned that the cliche is true. You really shouldn't judge people, especially without first asking questions to GET MORE INFORMATION. This makes me wonder how many times I have done this to others. I can't think of any specific instances at this moment. However, I will definitely make the effort in the future to refrain from judging people without getting all the information first.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I'm so happy to see your new posts. I keep coming back to see if any new ones have been added and it's cool to see that you're back :)
    I was wondering about how you were able to cut down costs on getting an education. If you could pass down any info my way I'd appreciate it!
    Thanks in advance!