BEDA Day 21: Role Models and Mentorship

Hello friends! I hope you're having a good Tuesday; as far as Tuesdays go, mine was pretty good. I only had one class, which was very relaxed, then got coffee and ran some errands. I also met with my poetry professor for office hours this morning, which was an awesome way to start the day.

I initially came in to talk with her about a poem I wrote--the poem I posted a few weeks ago about catcalling--and how I could revise it for my final portfolio. After that, though, we talked for nearly an hour about feminism and creative writing. It was amazing. I rarely get the opportunity to talk with someone older and wiser than me about issues I care about so deeply. My professor is such a badass and such a gentle educator; she aims to inform, not patronize. We talked about the feminist presence on our campus (or, really, lack thereof), intersectionality, and the entitlement of the male gaze. She's just so smart and carries a library around in her brain, pulling from various reference sections casually. It's honestly incredible to witness. Having her as a feminist role model and someone to turn to is incredibly comforting. Plus I left her office with a list of feminist books, interviews, essays, and poems to read, so that's a huge plus.

And honestly, that's the best part of college. Learning goes so much further beyond lectures and assigned readings; you can gain so much knowledge and think critically if you ally yourself to professors and mentors. This is the time to get people in your corner and to explore the minds of those smarter than you, because when else will you have the time or resources to have those types of experiences? When else can you ask someone if you can come talk to them for an hour about feminist poetry? When else can you ask an expert to teach you and guide you through a world you've yet to explore?

So that's really what I want you all to learn from this blog post: you really should be utilizing your professors, supervisors, and peers in college. During these four years, those people want to help; they've dedicated their lives to mentorship and guidance. You're in college to learn something and to be an informed citizen when you enter the "real world." You're paying enough: you have the right to wring your resources dry. You have the right to take up space, you have the right to ask for help. Plus, professors want to be there for you; if they didn't, why would they become educators?

Now is the time to create a repertoire of supporters and mentors. Get smart, committed people in your corner. Learn from those who inspire you. Gain experience from people older and wiser. Make an impression upon those who want to advocate for you. Not only because it's good to "network," but because it's good for your soul, your ego, and your perspective. Even though it can be a bit intimidating and scary, you'll be so happy you took the time to get to know the people who teach your lectures and grade your papers.


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