Woven like a spider web, I believe there are strings attached to every individual binding them to each other. I have always been a stern advocator that it is vital to make connections wherever you go; from small talk at a supermarket to a business meeting with CEOs, I believe there is hidden knowledge all around us that is waiting to be unveiled. This was no different in my academic career at California State University San Marcos. I was always the type of student to attend office hours so often that I ended up grabbing lunch or a coffee with my professors. It started to become a habit to not only learn more about my instructors but befriend them as well. One of my favorite highlights in college is when I walk past my favorite professor’s door on my way to class just to bug them for a little while. My experience in making connections has been nothing less than fruitful. My advice for others is to truly befriend your professors, mentors, or peers; don’t make a connection with them only because you want something out of them (such as an A or a promotion). I believe the most meaningful relationships go both ways, meaning both parties learn something from each other. They don’t have to be philosophical or complicated either! For instance, I taught my professor how to use Tiktok and he taught me about building credit in return. I believe a true mentorship is built when you respect and truly want to learn from this peer; not when you befriend them in hopes of “making your life/grading easier.” I think it’s vital for them to know you as a person, not a student or an employee. I assure you that an employer would not want to hear your mentor describe you as “the student who went to office hours and got an A,” but perhaps a persevering and vibrant soul who yearns to absorb all the knowledge around them. I guarantee you that no matter who you talk to, there is knowledge waiting to be uncovered. So, go for it! Strike that conversation!
S-STEM Scholar Spotlight: Maya Qaddourah
Maya Qaddourah (she/her) is an S-STEM Scholar at California State University San Marcos. In this S-STEM Scholar Spotlight, Maya shares her experiences and advice for building supportive mentorships and professional networks.