National Mentoring Day: A Q&A with Cameron

October 27th is National Mentoring Day! Mentorships have the power to transform lives and help guide young people to reach their highest ambitions. We spoke to Cameron, a freshman at Coppin State University studying computer science, who was paired with his mentor Will as part of iMentor Baltimore. Cameron shares how their mentorship developed through high school and the impact Will has had on his life.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I attend Coppin State University. I'm here on a Presidential Scholarship – full ride through academics, which I find pretty cool. I [was] born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and I went to Academy for Career and College Exploration for high school. I maintained a 4.4 GPA there while being in honors programs and advanced placement as well. I'm always confident and I'm always a go-getter. If there's something that I need to do or something that I want, I'm always going to [put] myself in the places to achieve that.

Let's talk about your mentor Will. What was it like when you first met, and what were your first impressions of him?

When I first got the news I got a mentor, I was probably in 10th grade. I was so nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I went onto the website [to see] what he looked like because we actually didn't meet in person; we met virtually and it was pretty cool. Nerves are going high, but I tried to hide that a little bit when I'm talking to new people. We had a really good conversation when we first met. We talked about his background and my background, and we just began to bond really easily. It was very easy to talk to Mr. Will. I really am grateful that I was able to meet him and not any other mentor because I don't really know how things would have went if it was someone different.

He works as a financial assistant, and I took an internship at Bank of America. He was very helpful when he was giving me tips on what I could say at work, how I can impress my manager. He was all around helpful in that environment. Us being in the same field at that time, it was almost perfect.

Tell us about one pivotal moment that you've had with your mentor and what made it special for you.

One pivotal moment that we had was, I believe in my 12th grade year, [when] I was deciding which college I wanted to go to. I had a lot of options and some of those options were good. Some of those options were looked at as bad. Mr. Will sat me down and really talked to me and helped me realize that what other people say shouldn't impact my life, and that [whatever] my decision is, I do for me. For him to have that talk with me was very helpful and I really appreciate him for that, and I tell him that all the time. He understood what I was going through.

Have you been able to take that advice and apply it to other aspects of your life?

[In high school] I wouldn't play sports. I was more into the academic field, the honors programs and stuff. And with my height – I’m six foot seven – a lot of people will look at me [and say], “You should play basketball, or you should play football.” I would do basketball as a hobby, but that wasn't my passion. [Will] told me that whatever your passion is, and whatever you're passionate about, do that first. What other people say you should do is not what you have to do. And that helped me as well.

Where do you see your mentorship with Will headed in the future?

I still see myself talking to Mr. Will asking him for help networking. I do want to schedule more time to meet with him and have those in-person connections instead of always talking virtually. I see our relationship growing and becoming stronger than it was close to three years ago. I see myself mentally maturing into an adult and him giving me the materials to build my own foundation.

I didn't really have a mentor growing up. I had both my parents, but they weren't mentors; I looked up to them in the aspect of, you’re my parents and you teach me everything. Mr. Will is very smart, very kind, and he knows a lot of information. Having that mentor in my life, who has that wisdom, who has that knowledge, was very helpful, and I'm very grateful to have him.

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