Dear Sista Friend,
You are beautiful beyond words.
Your brilliance is so radiant that it shines wherever you are.
You turn heads when you walk into a room.
Your social activism is contagious.
You speak your mind eloquently.
Your ability to be compassionate and understanding is admirable.
You sit on a platform that provides you with an opportunity to affect change.
With all of this privilege and power, we must share it with others!
Speaking specifically to recent college graduates, those in graduate school, or young professionals, we are right at that stage where we closely understand the plights of young black girls and can help them navigate the corporate world and educational institutions with elegance and conviction. Even if you think that you are not prepared to mentor anyone since you are still working on your career or figuring out your next steps in life, sista friend I am here to tell you that is a fallacy!
Misconceptions of Being a Mentor
- You have to have everything figured out.
- You have to be at least 35 and older with a plethora of life experiences.
- You must be in your chosen career and absolutely loving it.
- You cannot make mistakes.
How many of us adhere to all of the above right now?
I know I don’t.
And guess what?
That is entirely fine!
You can still become a mentor!
It is wonderful if you possess the above qualities, but they are not absolutely necessary in order for you to guide another sista.
So how do you become a mentor?
- Seek out a young sista friend you know either from school, church, your community, etc. and develop a friendship.
- Be willing to openly share your experiences with them so that they may learn from you.
- Make yourself available so that they can talk to you about any issues they face.
Why is it important to be a mentor and what are the benefits?
- A mentor helps her mentee understand that black women are powerful, innovative, queens of the Earth, and worthy of respect.
- A mentor teaches her mentee how to network and begin establishing her career.
- A mentor shares her experiences of dating and influences her mentee to make healthy relational goals and choices.
- A mentor provides her mentee with a space for open dialogue that is non-judgmental.
- A mentor grows herself because she realizes that her guidance has the potential to positively transform someone else’s decisions and perspectives.
As I mentioned before, you do NOT have to be perfect to be a mentor. Your imperfections make you relatable and personable. There are so many young women who long for someone to look up to and who comprehends what they are going through. I certainly wish that I would have had a mentor when I was navigating through middle school. It was a time in my life where I was very uncomfortable with my body type, unsure of how to deal with the mean girls, and not able to speak up for myself. Although my mother was very open and supportive, it would have been helpful to have someone else closer in my age that I could simply have girl talk with. As a young adult, I still realize that there are benefits to having a mentor even now.
So how are you mentoring our young sistas? How are you even mentoring your brothers, cousins, and church youth? Do you currently have a mentor?
I charge each of us to go out and share our light with others in some way regardless of where we are in our lives.
After all, there are so many young sistas waiting to be added to the sista circle.
Your Sista Friend,
Bri Smocks is currently working on her Master of Education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where she also received her B.A. in English in 2014. In addition, she student teaches at an all-male school during the day and tutors various students through a tutoring company in the evening. She enjoys reading Jodi Picoult novels, binge watching shows on Netflix and Hulu, and spending time with her husband of one year.