Ana & Jessica: When you text first

Ana and Jessica's first exchange on Conversations

That’s me and my mentor, Jessica, chatting for the first time. We hadn’t even met yet. Usually you meet someone before you text them, not the other way around.

I was a sophomore in high school in Tuscon, AZ, and I was going through a slump in life. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t feeling school, and I didn’t like to talk in front of other people, especially people I didn’t know. When my teacher told me I’d be getting a mentor, I couldn’t see the point. I didn’t see how a stranger could motivate me, help with my grades, or help me do things like join clubs in school.

I didn’t know what to say to a random adult I didn’t know. When I saw that she sent me a message on Conversations [iMentor’s online direct messaging tool for mentors and students to chat], I replied and we began getting to know each other. I liked that she always responded right away. It made me feel like she cared, and it was encouraging.

I feel like I’m better at making my point if I think about it and write it down, instead of having to think about it in person. So, when we first met in person, I was nervous. I felt a lot of adrenaline. But I was also curious. I wanted to meet the person I had been messaging with. And when I saw her, I really liked her. She had a huge smile, and was very welcoming, not awkward at all. It was surprisingly easy to just continue the conversation we started online. She made a good impression on me, and after that I decided to trust her and try this out.

Over time, we talked more and spent more time together at in person events. I told her about things I was dealing with, like not having much motivation in school. She took me seriously. I saw that she’s not a person who is here to judge me, she’s here to listen. At every event, we can share what we talked about in front of the group, but I don’t like to. There’s a whole bunch of kids there, and I don’t like talking in front of people. But one time, I had the confidence to say something, so I raised my hand. Jessica got so hyped, she screamed my name! It made me laugh, and I couldn’t even process what I was going to say. But I got it together, and it felt really good to share.

It’s funny to look back at my first messages with her and remember how nervous I was. Now I look forward to seeing Jessica. We still talk online too, every week. Right now we’re working on getting my grades higher, and soon we’re going to start planning for college. I want to be the first person in my family to go to college, and since Jessica works at University of Arizona, she’ll be a big help. I’m glad I got over my nerves and gave her a chance.