-content by Maryann Akinboyewa-
I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the Whitman Alumni Club Mentoring Program. I just knew it was something I had to do. Now that I’m in my junior year, I find myself thinking more about my career and future plans. The truth is it’s still hard for me to imagine my life after SU. The thought of one day having to leave the comfort of Whitman and enter the “real world” is exciting, but also extremely nerve wrecking!
I was so relieved when I found out a program such as the Whitman Alumni Club mentoring program existed. The program pairs Whitman students with experienced Whitman alumni. When I attended the Whitman Alumni Club Kick-Off meeting, it became clear to me that these are not only people who proudly bleed Orange, but also resources and genuine supporters. I met my mentor, Dan Buddie, at the kick off event. Now, I will admit, I researched him quite a bit before our first meeting. I was so curious about who he was! At the time, the only things I knew about him was that he founded his own company and (like me) was a marketing major at SU.
When we finally met, Dan stretched his hand out to me and said, “Hi, I’m Dan! I’m your mentor. I’m here for anything you need.” When I shook his hand and looked up at his warm smile, I relaxed a bit (okay… a lot!). I thought to myself that day, “This could work!”
Since that meeting, Dan and I have maintained a strong mentoring relationship. Even though he is busy, he always makes time to reach out to me or answer any questions I have. What I love about having him as my mentor is how transparent and available he has made himself to me. “I’m here for you 24/7, Maryann. Whatever you need, I’m there.” He tells me that all the time and I really appreciate it.
Whether it’s to discuss careers, interview skills, networking, or internships, Whitman students are lucky to have the Whitman Alumni Club mentors to learn from. We don’t have to be “afraid” of our futures. We can take control and shape our own destinies.
After all, the Whitman Alumni Club always has our backs.