November’s Mentee of the Month: Alondra Aguilar CC'21

Congratulations to Alondra Aguilar CC'21 for being selected as our Mentee of the Month for November. Alondra is a Senior majoring in Medicine, Literature and Society. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a member of the Columbia chapter of GlobeMed. 

Interview with Alondra Aguilar CC'21

Have you connected with alumni during the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, what has that experience been like? 

I connected with my mentor, Carlos Cuevas ’05, in July, and I am so grateful to have been matched with him. I learned a great deal about his time at Columbia and his career, which inspired me to apply for master’s in public health programs. He has offered stellar advice and insights on a variety of topics, including academics, how to set myself up for academic success during the pandemic and how to plan for post-grad life. 
What advice would you give an alum who is looking to mentor a student?

Sometimes we need you (the mentor) to take the initiative because we (mentees) are nervous, intimidated or unsure of how to reach out. Something my mentor did when we connected on the Odyssey platform was message me first, which made me feel like he was genuinely interested in offering his wisdom and guidance. Also,  listen to Michelle Obama’s Spotify podcast on mentoring (such a great one!).

What have your mentoring relationships looked like (e.g., phone calls, meeting in person, etc)?

Due to the pandemic all of my mentorship interactions have been virtual (Zoom and phone) this year. My mentor and I have bi-weekly meeting reminders in our calendars to make sure we are consistent, and he regularly checks in, which is great because with school in full swing it can be so easy for me to forget.

What has been most helpful being a mentee?

Speaking with someone who comes from a similar background and thus really understands my goals! Carlos has provided an abundance of insights that I would not know how to find otherwise.
What has been most surprising about being a mentee?

How helpful having a mentor can be! Not just in terms of career guidance but also life guidance. Whether I am having a hard time making a decision about classes, applications or something else it feels great to know I have someone I can reach out to who will help me make the best decision for myself.

About the Odyssey Mentoring Program

The Odyssey Mentoring Program (OMP) was founded on the belief that Columbia College students and alumni want to support one another, share stories and encourage one another’s success, thus creating a strong and tight-knit community. The College has more than 50,000 alumni working in myriad careers and around the country. OMP makes it possible for community members to connect in a variety of ways, from an email exchange to in-person meetings and small group gatherings.