Brandolon Barnett on Mentoring
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Mentoring is so very important. I had a mentor when I was an undergraduate. I was very introverted as a kid. I've learned to do small talk and to be more social as I've gotten older when I first got to college. And I still like to eat lunch alone. Same as when I was a kid, I go into the cafeteria and, the older gentleman comes up to me and sits down kind of without asking, and starts asking me, you know, how am I doing? He knows my name. I'm like, this is really strange. It turns out he was associate Dean of the school. And he ended up being a mentor to me. But he comes in, sits down to me. I'm at this point as far away from home as I've ever been Pennsylvania from Texas. And he starts telling me stories about, study abroad about his journeys in Thailand. And what he's done in Japan and South Africa, India. And I had not even the thought of these possibilities. Like I had not thought that I could do something like that. And so eventually he tells me he's been selected to be the Dean of the semester at sea program. And he's like, you should join me. I'm going to do the next voyage. And I was like, no, I can't afford that. It's incredibly expensive. But, he told me about a scholarship fund. I applied, I got the scholarship. I found myself four months later, you know, getting on a plane, flying to LA and then up to Vancouver. And then I'd never seen the ocean in my life. All of a sudden I'm in Vancouver walking onto a big cruise ship where I'm going to be living for the next three to four months, going to 12 different countries with professors and students from universities over the U S and all over the world. And all of that is because someone took the time to talk to me about their experience and open my mind to what's possible. And so I try to do that.