By: Jacqueline Ojeda
Throughout my first three years at UF, the leadership programs in the business school have inspired me to reflect deeply on personal and professional matters. I have been able to grow and learn from the support system around me, including the amazing mentors I’ve been lucky to have. Mentorship has been a crucial part of my college experience, as my first mentor set the tone for my growing passion of mentoring others.
As a freshman, I joined the Business Undergraduate Mentorship Program here in the Heavener School of Business. During the Fall, I was often home sick and didn’t feel like I was making a real impact on campus like I used to in high school. Most of my peers felt the same way during their freshman year. Meeting my first mentor changed all of that. I was lucky to be paired with Cassidy Haack, who at the time was on the FLA advisory board. We became close friends, and she encouraged me to continuously engage in different opportunities on campus. Having a mentor as supportive as her brightened my outlook about college life, and got me more involved. This made me feel a sense of community within the business school, which I am so grateful for, being 5 hours away from home.
BUMP was my jumpstart to learning about mentorship. Soon after joining, I applied to FLA in hopes of being one of the 100 mentees selected in the organization. I was lucky to go on to have Maddy Segal and Michelle Kunz as mentors my sophomore year. My mentors have been selfless with their time, advice, and friendship. They have studied with me, kept me on track, and widened my network. I am thankful I have these great role models to look up to in the business school and in life.
This year as a junior, I am so proud to still be a part of both BUMP and FLA as a mentor. It gives me great happiness to give back to the clubs that have invested so much in me, and experience what it’s like to help others on their journey. So far I’ve had six mentees. Each bright with their unique ideas, creativity, and personalities. I am honored to have had the privilege of being their mentor.
Mentorship is a two-way relationship of trust that benefits both the giver and receiver. The mentee has someone who wants to help them grow, and the mentor benefits through the fulfillment and friendship that comes along with mentoring. Mentorship involves listening closely to the goals of your mentee and providing helpful ways they can accomplish those goals. It also means having someone you feel comfortable relying on to ask tough questions when you are faced with adversity. Finally, I believe mentorship is whatever you make it, whether it’s a professional, formal, or informal relationship; It all depends on the goals of both parties and how much effort is put in.
This semester, I plan on using my past knowledge and experience to be the best mentor of my ability to my new mentees. I recently met them at the FLA Spring Retreat, and I am thrilled to begin new relationships with each of them. Peer mentorship has added a plethora of value to my life, and I hope to have that kind of impact on my mentees!
Jacqueline Ojeda is a Junior from Miami, FL who was in FLA Class XIII. She is now an FLA Class XIV mentor, getting a B.S. in Management with a minor in Leadership. Jackie is interested in opportunities in sales, management, hospitality, and the tourism industry. On her free time, you can catch her going on a run, walking on the beach, or spending time with friends and family. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.