Whether you chose to be or not.
By Kate Shipley
As a senior in college, I was assigned to mentor Jillian Balser, a freshman in my fraternity, before I even knew that peer mentoring was a thing. We got along well, and I didn’t know any better, so, at first, I viewed it as a sort of assigned friendship.
Nearly a decade later I’m traveling to her city, and we plan to connect for the first time in years. I knew it would be nice to see her, but I was surprised when she sent me a message that said “I’M GONNA GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST HUG. Forever an inspiration.”
Jillian didn’t have to feel inspired by me. Although we worked through some tumultuous times together, we never had a constant communication. But being a role model isn’t always about being best friends, needing a job, or having a goal for the relationship. It’s connection, trust, care–and maybe a little admiration–that can flourish even when the mentor isn’t looking.
Who’s looking up to you today?