My Mentor Helps Me Balance Education, Work, and Parenthood
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.
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.
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.
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.
Erika Weaver-Coleman is a junior at Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida. She is majoring in Exceptional Student Education (“ESE”) and plans to concentrate on students with emotional and behavioral disorders as well as students with autism spectrum disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. She is married to her best friend and they are raising four children aged 16, 13, 11 and 9. She works as a library assistant on her campus, teaches Sunday school, and is an assistant to the production team for her local community theater. Erika earned an Associate’s degree from South Florida State College and was the commencement speaker for the spring 2018 graduation. She was the public relations officer for the Tau Epsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Erika is a recipient of the 2017 Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, a Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar, and a recipient of the 2017 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education.
This is Erika’s second contribution to the Pearson Students Blog. If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!