Emelin and Addie: The Language of Confidence

Each Tuesday, Emelin, a senior in the Bay Area, connects over Zoom with her mentor, Addie, to relax together and catch up.

The two converse easily in English, but this wasn’t always the case. When they first met, Emelin had emigrated from El Salvador just two years before and was hesitant to speak English, as she had faced ridicule when first learning the language.

So for months, Emelin and Addie talked mostly in Spanish. “It put us on a bit of a level playing ground,” said Addie, who had studied Spanish in college. “I was making this effort to speak in a way that was comfortable for Emelin, and she was able to share what she was worried about when it came to post-grad.”

As they got to know each other, mentor and mentee found that they were both close to their families and shared a strong dislike of math. Addie asked Emelin about her classes, and Emelin helped keep Addie on track with training for the San Francisco marathon.

“It wasn’t just me reaching out,” said Addie, “she was investing in me as well.”

When school went remote because of Covid-19, Emelin began speaking in English with Addie during their Zoom meetings. “Once I started talking with Addie, I became more confident,” said Emelin. “Don't let people bring you down. That's the worst part. Get out of your comfort zone and just try something new. I learned that from Addie.”

Emelin is looking forward to college after making it through a year full of challenges due to the pandemic. Not only was Emelin attending 12th grade remotely and applying to college, but her father lost his job and her family fell ill with Covid-19. Still, she is thankful her family did not have a serious case that required hospitalization.

These days, Emelin often talks with Addie about what her first year of college might be like—how to handle working while also attending school, how to stick to a budget, and how to balance studying with hanging out with friends. She hopes to have a career in medicine.

“Having a mentor has changed my life for the better,” said Emelin. “It's really good to have someone you can count on.”

Read more stories about mentors and mentees and check out 9 Steps to Become a Great Mentor. Watch our video “A Big Decision Day” to see Mentor seniors learn if they’ve been accepted to their top choice college for this fall—and to see students share their college commitments!