My mentor helps me balance education, work, and parenthood

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Erika Weaver Coleman
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As a recipient of a Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education, one of the things that I really appreciate is the fact that we are paired with a mentor to help us get through our college experience and to prepare us for entering the workforce. I had the good fortune of being paired with my mentor, Gina, when I became a Pearson Scholar in 2017. As a working mother who is going to college, it has been very helpful for me to have a mentor who is also a working mother with children in college and has had the experience of balancing education, work and life as a mother.

Sharing experiences

Our mentor and mentee monthly check-ins have been something that I can reflect on and see as a gauge of my progress in my college experience. Each month, I look forward to sharing what I have accomplished since the last time we spoke. During the time between check-ins I make mental notes of moments that would be good to share with my mentor. These last few semesters it has been especially helpful having a mentor who has the experience of children who are older, as I now have three teenagers in a house of four children! Gina always helps me to keep it light and positive and that this too shall pass.

Tackling transition

This past semester has been especially difficult for me in my college experience, and having a mentor has been a very large portion of how I somehow survived chaos and stayed on the Dean’s list. The challenge for me was in the transition from the state college where I received my Associate’s degree to the private university where I have entered my major. It was a big transition, and through it many challenges arose – but I had Gina there for me, helping me to look at things logically and to make decisions based on the available facts. She was also there for me on a personal level as I felt insanely overwhelmed with life in the moment and the transition.

Expanding horizons

I am grateful for the valuable experience of having someone in the wings watching me find my own path and being there for support, yet also showing me the ropes. The experience of having a mentor has also helped me to seek additional mentors in other aspects of my education, my professional development and in my personal life and for opportunities to serve as a mentor to others. As a future educator, I am excited about bringing this knowledge and experience to the students that I will serve one day, as mentorship is a critical experience that should be available to everyone.


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