Friday, December 10, 2010


Sometime during the summer of 2010, I applied to be a staff mentor for incoming freshmen to the University. New students would be placed with a peer mentor and a staff mentor... me. The program would run throughout the fall semester and end with a huge party in December.

I had no idea how quickly those four months would disappear!

I knew that my group was special from the very beginning. We all met for coffee after the first day of classes, and we clicked immediately. They were all excited for college - and a little nervous, of course - and happy to have a pre-set group of acquaintances. They were from Alaska, Florida, and Michigan, giving us an awesome mix.

The first thing that I planned was dinner at my house. It was just a week or two after the start of classes, and I picked them up from campus to head to the west side of the city. We spent a few hours eating, telling stories, and talking about their first few weeks of college. It was so cool for me to be able to give tips on where to grab a quick lunch or share my secret study spot.

I had so much planned for us to do during the fall semester.

Our first trip was to the apple orchard. Two of my mentees had never even heard of the Midwestern tradition of "Going to the Apple Orchard," and once I discovered that, the trip was all but planned.

It was a gorgeous day and a total success!

The Mentorship Program sponsored a Pizza-Tasting Party about halfway through the semester, and we got to try - and rate - pizza from all over Ann Arbor.

My mentees in front of a few pizza boxes.

The next event I planned was very important to me. I wanted to take them to Detroit and show them the good things about the city - the things that the media tends to forget. We went to the Detroit Institute of Arts first. I grew up going to the DIA, and I wanted to show them the greatest hits of the place, if you will.

In front of one of the Diego Rivera frescoes, Detroit Industry.

We were then off for a driving tour of the city with my dad. He met us at the museum and we all piled in his car to see the famous architecture and charm of the city.

At the "Spirit of Detroit."

In Hart Plaza.

The Mentorship Program provided up to $80 to each group, and we definitely made sure to use it! We had a whirlwind evening, just before the last day of classes. First, I took them to Prickly Pear, my absolute favorite restaurant in town. It was important to me that we hit up a place they would probably never visit because of its distance from campus and the prices of the entrees.

That was one damn good virgin margarita.

From there, we went to Just Baked, a cupcake boutique located a few miles from campus. Those things were decadent, trust me.

And to top off the semester, the Program hosted Winterfest with great food, raffles, prizes, and awards.

Y'all... I was named Mentor of the Year! Can you even believe it?

I am so glad that I participated in this program. I learned so much from my mentees, and it was a truly wonderful experience. I can't wait for next September!


lem said...

"I was named Mentor of the Year! Can you even believe it?"

Umm, yes. Because you are awesome at stuff like this. Ahh, the good ole days of interning...

Waayers said...

Yes, you are great at planning fun activities. Way to go, HP!

Heather said...

lem and waayers - Awww! Thanks :)