The Women’s Network (TWN) strives to bring ambitious women together with a larger community purpose across college campuses nationwide. TWN offers a space for collegiate women to network with one another, create a bond within the organization, and help students adjust to college life.
As a transfer student myself, getting involved with TWN allowed me to have a smooth transition from a community college to a four year university. Navigating a social life felt overwhelming as most people had already established friendships on campus. This can be highly intimidating for many transfer students who have previously lived in their family homes with a level of comfort and familiarity. This comfort and familiarity no longer exists when moving out of the house and to a new city to continue their college education.
Thanks to TWN-SDSU, I was able to partake in The Mentorship Program as a way to distance myself from these feelings of loneliness and surround myself in an environment that focused on empowering each other through consulting, counseling, and support! Within The Mentorship Program, TWN-SDSU members have the opportunity of becoming a mentor or mentee, or in some cases both, as either role has a beneficial outcome on either side of the relationship. Being a mentee is important because it’s your job to actively listen, communicate with your mentor, and have an eagerness to learn and grow. All of these skills are applicable to one’s experiences throughout college and after in the real world. The Women’s Network seeks to provide opportunities, connections, and community to collegiate women by redefining ambition.
The words ambitious and woman generally have a negative connotation when put together; an ambitious woman can be seen as threatening to a society rooted in patriarchal values. Thus, The Women’s Network seeks to redefine ambition for collegiate women who are seeking to change our society for the better by, for one, mentoring collegiate women through The SDSU Mentorship Program.
THE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
TWN-SDSU held personalized training sessions for Mentors and Mentees since there are expectations for the level of support and encouragement given and received on both sides of the relationship.
This type of program starts with interest. The program kicked off after September 27th, the deadline to apply to be a mentor or mentee. However, in some cases students chose to participate as both a mentor and a mentee. After applications, SDSU-TWN used interest forms to categorize students by college programs such as Writing Studies, Business Studies, Psychology, etc. This allows members to connect with students who have similar interests and career goals as a way to better motivate and guide each other through any academic and personal trials life may throw their way.
The mentor training is about showing members of TWN, new and old, what it means to be a mentor as a part of the network. This is also a resource for discussing what both of you are interested in career wise and building a connection together that will transcend your time in TWN. The Mentorship Program at TWN is not just for the school year. This relationship is not temporary, as growth throughout our lives has no set timeline. Through this program there is always someone to lean on and learn from since The Women’s Network aims to set you up with a dedicated and trustworthy partner. The ethics of a mentor and mentee relationship are cardinal and are as follows: boundaries, accountability, and confidentiality. Boundaries are important as one should treat this relationship with respect by valuing each other's time and emotional and personal boundaries. Accountability is also a crucial factor because, for instance, if a mentee has set a meeting or a goal that has a timeframe connected to it, a mentor should check in with them to make sure their appointments and goals are being met. Checking in with mentees is vital to the mentoring process. The communication aspect of mentoring is crucial in order for mentors and mentees to stay connected despite likely both leading very busy lives.
Mentees have certain expectations as well! The relationship between mentors and mentees is really a give and take. The main points of being a good mentee include: mindfulness, communication, transparency and initiative. Keeping these things in mind, mentees should always feel free to ask questions of their mentors. If they don’t have an answer, mentors will be able to guide you to someone who will be able to help. Even as a mentee, there are a certain set of ethics that you’re expected to follow. This set includes but is not limited to: boundaries, disclosure, and responsibilities. Just like mentors, communicating, keeping certain boundaries, and understanding that you may need to work around a mentor’s busy schedule is vital to keeping a healthy partnership. This also goes along with disclosing only what you’re comfortable with to your mentor. Never feel pressure to tell them anything personal about yourself that you’re not willing or ready to share. You, as well as your mentor, have a responsibility to one another to not only hold each other accountable but to hold each other responsible for the commitments you make to each other, yourselves, and your academics.
IMPACT ON TRANSFER STUDENTS
Transferring to a new university such as San Diego State University from a community college can be quite difficult. Especially during times like these where we're coming back from transitioning from being fully online for the past year-and-a-half, socialization can be difficult. This is where TWN-SDSU is here to help. TWN provides resources such as the Mentorship Program to offer students with new opportunities to not only socialize with their peers but to develop a relationship with someone who’s had experience at San Diego State University and can help you navigate your new surroundings. It’s also beneficial that your mentor is a fellow student and understands the trials and tribulations of last minute studying, the stress of midterms and finals, and for some students balancing school work and a job. There even comes the challenge of having a full or part-time job and volunteer work. A mentor or mentee is there to support you through these life moments as well as become someone you can connect with personally. The Women’s Network offers opportunities for personal growth and creates long-lasting friendships.
So, on behalf of the San Diego State University Women’s Network...Welcome!