By Tracee Ramey
Student and Alumni Affairs Liaison
January is National Mentoring Month! Through our ClearPath Mentoring program, the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs works with students, alumni, faculty, and university staff to foster insight and expand growth opportunities for people in the university community.
Launched in 2015, ClearPath is designed to meet the needs of students and alumni seeking professional and academic insight from their peers. The program currently supports over 11,000 users and offers them the opportunity to expand their academic, professional, and personal networks.
Why Is Mentoring Beneficial?
A relationship between a mentor and mentee can improve the mentee’s communication skills, expand the mentee’s access to networking opportunities, and help him or her develop leadership skills. For the mentor, it fosters a sense of the university community and offers a chance to give back to others in need.
Active servicemembers and veterans can benefit immensely from the mentoring experience. For instance, a mentor can provide insight from the unique perspective of life as a member of the armed forces, and mentees can explore their feelings and ideas in a safe environment.
While there are many benefits to mentoring, there are four main reasons for determining why veterans should become mentees.
#1: Better Career Development and Guidance for Obtaining a Job in the Civilian World
As veterans move from military to civilian professions, they often seek mentors who can offer assistance with building a resume, practicing interview skills, providing access to resources, researching jobs and applying to new jobs. An experienced mentor will have already been through these steps in their careers and can provide an insider’s look along with a deep understanding of current and former servicemembers’ unique life situations.
#2: More Networking and Connections
Mentors often have a strong network. Given their experience and reach, mentors can often connect mentees to resources and people who share their military-to-civilian experiences.
Additionally, many mentors who have transitioned to civilian life have access to a broad group of connections. Those connections can assist a mentee with future growth and opportunities as they acclimate to civilian life after military service.
#3: Emotional Support
Veterans face unique issues that only someone with their common military experience can likely understand. A mentor can encourage a mentee to cope with the emotional baggage that all servicemembers face, both during and after their military careers. These mentors can empathize with mentees and help to reduce mentees’ stress.
#4: A Smoother Transition to Civilian Life
One of the most significant challenges a mentee can face is transitioning to civilian life after military service. A good mentor can help a mentee with the transition through skill development, stress management, goal planning and career guidance. The transition to a completely different civilian lifestyle can be difficult, but having the support of an experienced mentor who has also been through the same experience can make a significant impact on the mentee’s life.
Accessing ClearPath Mentoring
You can access the University Directory and ClearPath in your ecampus by clicking on the “Directory” tab at the top of your ecampus home page. Another way to access ClearPath in the ecampus is by navigating to the “Student Services” menu and clicking “Find a Mentor” under the “Student Success” submenu.
Once you’re in ClearPath, you’ll need to complete a few onboarding steps and undergo a quick training session to participate in ClearPath. These steps ensure we have the most up-to-date information on your profile to help you connect with other community members.
Here are a few additional tips to help you navigate ClearPath:
- Build a robust profile in the University Directory. Include academic and professional achievements to make your profile stand out from other people.
- Review the Interactive Discussion Guide. This resource will facilitate conversation between mentors and mentees.
- Search for an appropriate mentor. ClearPath has multiple search parameters, including a mentor’s location, academic area of study and professional title. Another option is to contact the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs to be matched with a mentor.
If you’re already a mentor or mentee, you’ll notice that ClearPath’s design has changed slightly. New features include:
- A “Favorites” tab, which offers users the opportunity to save their profiles right on the homepage
- A ratings option to provide immediate feedback regarding the directory and the ClearPath mentoring program
- Easy access to the mentor program manager, who can be contacted directly through the main page for any help you may need
Reach Out to Us If You Need More Information
We look forward to your engagement in the ClearPath program and university directory. We hope the many connections you make there will help guide you on a clear path. If you have any questions or want additional information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.