In celebration of National Mentoring Month, UA Little Rock is highlighting mentors who are making a difference in the lives of students at UA Little Rock.
Lauren Wilson, a native of Crossett who currently lives in Conway, serves as the assistant director of the Multicultural Center at UA Little Rock.
1. Why did you choose to become a mentor?
Mentoring chose me as an undergraduate. I was always drawn to helping my fellow students navigate classes, campus, and co-curricular activities, so mentoring was a natural fit for me. Over the course of my career in education, mentoring has been a huge part of my work, whether through advising, supervising, or teaching.
2. What is your opinion on the importance of having a mentor in college?
I had some incredible mentors in college. Whether they were students, faculty, or staff members, they played a huge role in getting me to graduation. Whether mentors are giving advice on careers, classes, or life, having someone there for you to answer questions or be a listening ear is invaluable for a college student, especially if they are looking for guidance.
3. What do you enjoy most about mentorship?
Building relationships with students! While mentoring adds another layer to my assigned job duties, it is beyond fulfilling to bond with my mentees and witness them blossom and grow.
4. What is the hardest part about being a mentor?
It can be tough when mentees don’t listen to your advice, or when they make decisions that aren’t the best for them. However, part of being a good mentor is helping them through those tough situations, guiding them rather than getting on to them. Although, sometimes, you need to get on to them, too. 🙂
5. How would you describe your personal mentoring style?
My style is relatable and straightforward, making sure that I clearly communicate with my mentees when I do (or don’t) know something, and helping them solve problems instead of trying to solve the problems for them. I also believe in the power of sharing stories, whether as cautionary tales or as evidence that I am just as human as they are.
6. What leaders do you look up to for inspiration?
While I can’t think of anyone specifically, I am always drawn to those who practice servant leadership and who lead by doing. I am a firm believer that you can’t be an effective leader unless you are willing to walk the talk and practice what you preach.
7. Is there anything you would like to add or advice for future mentors?
You don’t have to have your life completely together in order to be a mentor! Even if you feel like you are still learning and growing as a person (which we all should be until we are no longer on this Earth), you still have valuable insight that could help someone out.