The 2020 presidential election has been a present topic in American life over the last year, months and weeks. We are a country divided and this election has been framed as a moment when we are making a collective choice about our nation’s future.
Opening space to talk about the election with your mentee is invaluable. Your mentee may not want to talk about this with you, or with anyone, but having a chance to share and be heard, by an adult is an important asset to them.
Your mentee may have a range of thoughts and feelings about the candidates, the election process and results, not to mention everything else that is going on with the multiple pandemics facing our country. They will also have a range of supports to process the results and what comes next. The resources that follow will help you to support your mentee during this challenging and unpredictable time.
Regardless of whether your mentee engages in a conversation about the election, now is an important time to do a check on their emotional well-being. Remind them that you are there to support them and give them a gentle nudge to practice self-care. If you learn of a dramatic change in their daily routine (i.e. changes in sleep schedule, eating pattern, social engagement, etc.) contact your PM. We do not provide diagnosis or advice, but we can refer your mentee to on campus or community resources.
" With some intentional planning and communication, the 2020 winter holidays can still bring opportunities to connect and reflect with those we care about. Even though it may be harder to connect in person with others, it is still important to stay connected. Our support systems play a vital role in helping us through managing pandemic stress and grief." - The Wendt Center
Prompts for Communication:
When you connect with your mentee, engage with them on a personal level instead of diving into task-related conversations. The question “How are you?” often elicits the response “fine”. Try asking a variation that gives your mentee the opportunity to share more information with you. You want your mentee to know that you are there for them, that you will listen and that what they are experiencing is valid. As much as you feel comfortable, share how you have been coping and maybe a challenge that you may be facing and how you are addressing it. Struggling openly and sharing coping mechanisms can help your mentee normalize their experience.
Talking about the tasks that your mentee needs to address to be successful in the following semester may be overwhelming. Preface the conversation by letting your mentee know that it is okay if they haven’t completed certain tasks and offer reassurance that you are there to help them get organized, make a plan, provide reminders and connect them to additional resources as needed. Tasks that your mentee needs to complete are:
- Reapply for FAFSA, if applicable
- Degree audit for terminal degree (is your mentee on track to complete their program?)
- Transfer or Job Entry plans (if your mentee is in a terminal degree or program)
- Check that their tuition payment plan and balance are up to date
- Sign-up for an iMentor advising session
- Secure Housing
- Food Security
- Access to Health Care
Moving Into The Holidays: https://www.wendtcenter.org/moving-into-the-holidays/
Telehealth Counseling Services (FREE Until August 2020): Better Help https://www.betterhelp.com/dellscholars/
Alternative Questions to “How Are You?”: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/questions-ask-instead-of-how-are-you_l_5fa2efd4c5b6b35537e341d1
Task Management Tools: https://collegeinfogeek.com/task-planning-system/