It’s All About Who You Know

As a Lumberjack you’re going to meet a ton of awesome people who will impact your life, choices, and future. Some of these people will stick with you more than you realize.

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The first time you meet a professor can be intimidating — and even scary. The story of Amy Phillips and her NAU mentor, Paul Helford, shows that connections made during your time as a student can help you blossom and grow — even after graduation!

How did these two meet?

  • In the early 2000’s Amy took classes taught by Professor Helford — specifically advertising classes within the School of Communications
  • When did their connection evolve from student and professor to peer and mentor? It’s difficult to recall the exact moment that Professor Helford became a mentor in Amy’s life, as he puts it “in life we sometimes make special connections. Sometimes at first contact, sometimes it takes a little longer.” Either way, by the end of the semester their connection was solid and one that would form into a lifelong friendship.
  • How has Professor Helford seen Amy grow? Aside from growing from student, to wife, to mother — he says she has done most of it on her own! (Humble!)

What is the best advice a mentor can give a student?

Perseverance with a sprinkling of understanding.

As a mentor, Professor Helford says its important to accept a feeling of defeat, but to instill a sense of empowerment to not give up too soon.

  • Bottom line? Being a mentor is “not imposing, but being there with what is needed when it is needed.”

So how does one meet a mentor like this?

OFFICE HOURS. If you are in a class with a professor who sparks your interest and offers to assist students after class hours — go!

Attending office hours prepared with questions, research, and information is a sure-fire way to make these kinds of lasting relationships.

Interested in establishing a mentor relationship? We’ve got you covered👇:

  1. Keep communications open- be up-front and let you mentor know what your goals are and what you hope to take away from the relationship.
  2. Maintain contact- be polite and courteous. Keep up with communication and ask questions.
  3. Actively participate- interested in their profession? Get a behind the scenes look at ask if you can observe your mentor’s practice.
  4. Be creative- Offer ideas on what activities and exercises you can do together.
  5. Be consistent- The more reliable you are, the more you will be trusted.
  6. Stay positive- Remember that your membor is offering constructive feedback that will positively impact your future!

Whether you’re looking for peer or professional staff support, NAU offers mentoring programs to help you build upon your foundation as a Lumberjack in and out of the classroom!

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It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.

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