“Talk to everyone. Try everything. Take advantage of every unique opportunity the school offers.”
My mother was a St. Lawrence University student before me, and her biggest regret is overlooking some of the amazing resources SLU provides. She emphasized this advice on move-in day my freshman year and still reminds me of it two years later.
I remember walking into the Student Center for the first time and taking in the countless posters advertising clubs, events, and programs—I had no idea where to start. Luckily, I quickly made friends that year and tagged along whenever I heard them mention an Advocates meeting that night or a blood drive coming up later in the week.
I’ll never forget how especially passionate and excited one friend was about a program I hadn’t heard about yet—the LINC Career Mentoring Program. He rambled to me about the wonderful connection he’d made with an alumni mentor and the guidance he provided. After showing me his shiny new resume and LinkedIn profile, my friend filled me in on the details of a trip he was planning to meet with one of his mentor’s close partners. This magical program somehow connected him to people working in his field of interest who were not only willing but eager to share their expertise and advice about reaching his career goals. I quickly realized I had done all I could to get familiar with other students but had yet to tap into St. Lawrence’s renowned alumni network.
The LINC Career Mentoring Program accepts mentees every year and pairs each student with someone who knows exactly what it’s like to be a Laurentian undergraduate. Students can take part in LINC as early as their second semester on campus (if they complete Careers 101) through their junior year. Alumni volunteer to meet with students throughout the year to enhance their mentees’ networking skills and prepare them to enter the professional world as capable St. Lawrence graduates.
My sophomore year, I was extremely intimidated by the thought of juggling all of my obligations as a pre-health student: participating in extracurriculars, collecting volunteer hours, maintaining an impressive GPA, dedicating time to MCAT preparation, finding shadowing opportunities, and attending mock interviews… the list goes on. I didn’t think I’d have time to work my shifts in Admissions or be able to study abroad like I’d wanted to.
Well, I am glad to report that I am still thrilled with my ongoing position as an Admissions Ambassador and will be studying in Vienna this spring; however, I can’t take all the credit. My absolutely incredible LINC mentor heard my ideas, aspirations, and concerns and worked with me every step of the way as I re-envisioned my future. By the end of the year, she’d introduced me to physicians and laboratory scientists who had once navigated the pre-health world themselves. She practiced with me to strengthen my professional communication skills and build a strong foundation for my future in science.
With my mentor’s help, I successfully synthesized a new course plan (one that would allow me to study abroad and take my MCAT on time!) and expanded my network to access various professional platforms. Most importantly, I formed a genuine relationship with someone who was once in my shoes and inspires me to reach my full potential.
Funnily enough, my mother took her own advice and served as a LINC mentor that same year. It’s never too late, right? With my remaining time at St. Lawrence I will continue to ‘try everything’. After all, four years isn’t as long as it seems, and hey, you never know—I might just have a mentee of my own one day!