Be a mentor to someone

October 21, 2012

In my last visit to India, I conducted the opening door workshop for the students of class 12th of Unity College, Lucknow. It was an absolute delight to be with some bright young boys and girls. We discussed steps to developing a high self-esteem and positive attitude. And, we discussed success: what does it mean and how to achieve success.

It was good to see dreams being shared, aspirations being talked about with a sense of optimism. A young girl aspired to be a judge, some wanted to be a doctor, software engineer, and so on. The young people were raring to go for their dreams. We had a good discussion on how to go about it and summarized it under three points: develop a plan for realization of  career goals; work hard to implement the plan; and be ready to face failures that may come along the way without losing hope and self esteem.

We then discussed to appreciate success in wider terms. What does it bring for others, particularly for those who are less privileged? Can we do something for others even at the current stage of our life when we are students ourselves? We came up with an idea.

In the premises of Unity College, the management runs another school- Unity Mission School- in the afternoon, for poor children of the locality. Most of them are drop outs, or those who could never go to school due to poverty. They are offered free education, uniform, books and other support. I had the opportunity to meet one student of the Mission school who told me that he wanted to be an engineer. He felt he needed to improve his English but had no money to pay for a tutor. Even as a student of class 10th, he was teaching Mathematics to two primary level students from a nearby school to support his family income. His situation was in my mind as I was doing the workshop. I shared it and asked students if someone would like to help this boy improve his English. This might take just about an hour a day but it will help this boy realize his dream. Carrying the idea further, we felt what a big difference it would make if each senior student of Unity College could be a mentor to at least one child of the Mission school. The Principal of Mission school, who was present in the workshop, felt it would be a big help for her children. She agreed to connect her students with the group and help them find a child to whom they could mentor. We concluded: we can help others in realization of their dreams while we are still working on ours.

As I finished the workshop and drove back I saw some students of the Mission school walking in. I hoped they will soon find a mentor in the group I had just interacted with.