You’re a Role Model

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.”

It’s connection, trust, care–and maybe a little admiration

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?

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