Mentee vs. Mentor By– Lincoln Kinley

LDP is a program about personal growth. We start out as nervous newbies, often unaware of the greatness that is held within ourselves. As we progress through the program, we learn more about ourselves. We learn what we are good at, what we need to improve upon, and why we are here, just to name a few. One of the biggest transformations members of LDP make is when they go from a first year member to a second year member, or in other words, from mentee to mentor.

Coming into the program as a first year, I revered the second year members. It seemed like they always had the solution to whatever problem I was having. Fast forward a year, and now I’m in their shoes. Making the transition from mentee to mentor is just like making the transition from followership to leadership. At first, you have no idea what you’re doing, and you feel overwhelmed by the task at hand, but you still try your best. Eventually you figure out something that works, and you flourish from there. Undoubtedly, I’ve grown since I was a first year member. I have much better time management skills, I can handle many more responsibilities, and I know how to be an effective member or leader of a team.

Since becoming a mentor in LDP, my responsibilities have grown greatly. I began focusing on how we can make the program better though additional activities and creating a better learning environment. While it may not be apparent, this task is just about as time consuming, if not more time consuming, than planning and executing a project. For example, the latest project I was working on was a dreams exercise with all of LDP that used batteries, LED’s, and a lot of programming. The project was quite large in scale, and as the only electrical engineer in LDP, I ended up having to do most of it myself. Despite the difficulty, the project ended up being a huge success. Many LDP members realized more about themselves and their dreams.

The same time that I made the transition from mentee to mentor, I also made the transition from Vice President to President in SIU Robotics ATMAE. I was suddenly responsible for my team’s success and my school’s image. Thankfully, the lessons I learned in LDP helped me to lead my team to victory in the 2017 ATMAE National Robotics Competition. Our club is now growing at a pace that is hard to keep up with, and I’m using my mentor training to mentor the current project team leaders.

Not only did I become a mentor in LDP, and President of SIU Robotics ATMAE, I also stepped up my academic responsibilities as well. I went from taking 15 credit hours in spring of 2017 to taking 19 credit hours in fall of 2017. I had trouble finding additional time to study and work on homework when my other responsibilities began to bear down on me, but I relied upon my team to help me with my time management skills. Almost overnight, I went from barely having enough minutes in a day to finish my work to being able to relax most afternoons, simply by focusing on increasing my time management skills. This led to me getting the best grades I’ve ever gotten in one semester, despite being by far the busiest I’ve ever been.

I would like to thank my team for helping me make the transition from mentee to mentor, from follower to leader. I would never be able to accomplish as much as I do today without the help of my team. I would also like to thank my mentees, Andrew Paxton, Scott Costello, and Scott Kasper, for always giving me their very best, whether it be holding themselves accountable, planning and execution of an LDP project, or just about anything else. Their positive energy inspires me to give my very best in everything I do.