By: Jett Reed
The centerpiece of SLI’s success across its different chapters is mentorship. College students and working adults help to guide high school students by developing a strong, positive relationship as they progress through their education. I interviewed Andrea Gonzalez, a James Madison University Centennial Scholar and a founding SVSLI college student mentor to learn what it’s like to be a SLI mentor!
Andrea Celeste Gonzalez, 20 years old, James Madison University
(Major: Health Science with a concentration in Health Assessment and Promotion)
Q: What led to you being a mentor for SVSLI?
A: The director of the Centennial Scholars Program, Mrs. Strawbridge, asked if I was interested in being a mentor to a Latino high school student who wanted to further their education. Being the first in my family to attend a university, it would have been extremely beneficial if I had had a college student to mentor me through the college process. Of course, I was immediately interested.
Q: What’s an average day like spending time with a student/students?
A: An average day consists of hanging out with the students and seeing how everything is going with school. Asking if they are struggling with anything and coming up with some ways to resolve those problems. Also, trying to build a steady friendship and trust with our mentee and the other students.
Q: What is something you’ve learned or something interesting about the students that people might not know?
A: I’ve learned that the students are really passionate about their education. They really want to better their lives and the lives of their families by attending a college or a university and someday getting a well-paying job. They are also really passionate about the best sport in the world, soccer!
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as you mentor the students?
A: I hope to establish a strong friendship and sense of trust with my mentee. If she is having trouble with school or with something personal, I hope that she would trust me enough to tell me about it and hopefully help her through whatever the situation may be. I hope the mentees really use us mentors as they begin applying to colleges next year. Even if it’s for something as simple as proof reading their college applications or even helping write personal statements, we, the mentors, have all been through the process.
Q: What are some goals for your current students now?
A: I hope that they keep working hard in school and stay motivated so that they are able to achieve their dreams. I hope they know that they have a group of people who are more then willing to help and support them in any way we can. I hope they know that no, the road will not be easy, but with hard work, passion, motivation, and discipline, they will be able to achieve anything.