A Coach On and Off the Field: Musharafa & Hannah’s Story

Musharafa was a high school student who was focused on her studies and had a deep passion for sports. When she was paired with Hannah, an experienced mentor, as part of the iMentor program, there was initially some awkwardness between them. Musharafa was hesitant to open up and share her thoughts and future plans with Hannah.

Musharafa loved sports and had a desire to play in college. Whether it was the thrill of effortlessly sinking a clutch basket on the basketball court, scoring a try on the rugby field, or showcasing her agility and finesse on the soccer pitch, Musharafa's talent seemed boundless.

As a former college athlete, Hannah connected with Musharafa on this common interest, which acted as a catalyst for their relationship. Witnessing Musharafa's triumph on the rugby field was a real breakthrough for them, sparking conversations about sports, teamwork, and the challenges and joys of competing. Their connection deepened as Hannah continued to cheer on Musharafa in various sports, forming an unbreakable bond where athletics acted as a key pillar.

"I just wanted to be sure Musharafa knew that she could do anything, even if she just kept working hard and showing up and being the great person and leader that she was, that she could accomplish anything," Hannah said.

Preparing for College and a Career

Despite the challenges posed by lockdowns and the pandemic, Musharafa and Hannah managed to navigate and build their relationship. They embarked on pair expeditions, including a memorable outing to Dave and Buster's with their class and other mentors. They also attended movies together during the summer, and Hannah supported Musharafa by attending her basketball and rugby games. One of their most fun memories was a pair event at Musharafa’s high school where the two played basketball together.

As they began working on college applications and essays, their friendship and trust proved invaluable. Their connection outside of school created a comfortable environment where Hannah could gently push Musharafa regarding time management and deadlines.

“Hannah helped me with my college essay. She helped make notes on how I liked different colleges. She showed me the benefits to every college, even if they weren’t my top option,” said Musharafa. “She walked through different goals with me every day, let me know what to expect and what not to expect. Hannah basically prepared me for the whole process.”

Musharafa’s long-term goal was to major in biology and then go to medical school to train to become an OBGYN. Hannah provided valuable assistance in crafting Musharafa's college essay and guided her through the college application process. When Musharafa was deciding on what college to attend, Hannah reminded her of the numerous benefits of every available option. With her encouragement, Musharafa explored colleges in New York City.

Hannah was able to connect Musharafa with her friend Michael, an OBGYN. Michael shared insights with Musharafa about his work as an OBGYN. This experience was instrumental in helping Musharafa explore potential majors and consider a career in this field. It was fulfilling for Hannah to leverage her connections and make Musharafa’s career aspirations more tangible.

Growing and Learning Together

Musharafa eventually committed to Lehman College to major in biology and play basketball. Throughout her first year, Hannah was by her side, providing daily guidance and helping her navigate the new experience.

"Just hearing back from Musharafa is truly rewarding and amazing. Knowing that I've had an impact on her life is incredibly fulfilling. As an American, specifically a white American, I acknowledge that my life experiences have shielded me from many of the challenges Musharafa has faced,” said Hannah. “However, working with her has taught me the incredible resilience of young people, even in difficult situations. Her hard work and resilience have been truly inspiring, and I've learned so much from her. Having her in my life has expanded my horizons, challenged me, and helped me grow."

As Hannah and Musharafa navigate the challenges and opportunities of college life together, they both anticipate the ongoing growth and evolution of their relationship. Hannah will continue to be a pillar of support for Musharafa, not only in the capacity of a mentor, but as a trusted friend. Their friendship will serve as a constant source of encouragement, empathy, and joy, propelling them towards new heights and creating memories to cherish for a lifetime.

We need more mentors like Hannah to guide students through high school and into college. Become a mentor today!