Allison McWilliams: Mentoring when the world is on fire

Allison McWilliams

Allison McWilliams

Allison McWilliams is assistant vice president, mentoring and alumni personal & career development. She posted this piece on the Mentoring Resource Center website on March 18.   

A dear friend and colleague asked me earlier what I was doing to support our faculty, staff, students, and others in their mentoring relationships right now. And, I must confess, my first response was something like, Uh, nothing? Because, quite honestly, right now it feels like the world is on fire. And it feels like maybe mentoring isn’t the most important thing to be focused on when the world is on fire. Even for someone who focuses on mentoring pretty much seven days a week.

But, upon further reflection, I am super glad that she asked and that she prompted me to think about it. Because, while, no, mentoring isn’t the most important thing happening right now, especially when compared to your health and the health of your friends and family, it is important. How we take care of one another, and connect with one another, in this time of social distancing, is critical to how we survive this moment in time, and to how we emerge from it, on the other side (and we will). Mentoring is all about relationships.Deep, intentional, relationships of care. And if there is anything we all need right now, it is more connection and less (virtual) distance, to feel that we are supported by a community of care.

With that said, I would like to offer up some tips, to those of you currently engaged in mentoring relationships, to those of you seeking the support of mentoring relationships, and to those of you leading formal mentoring programs. And I would like to offer a reminder that we are here to help and to guide you, to support you and to be a part of your network, so please do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help, either via @WFUmentoring on Twitter or at our website.

The entire column by Allison McWilliams is available here.