Regardless of age, having a mentor can change the way we perceive and act in the world. Mentoring increases confidence and can reduce anxiety associated with taking big steps in life.
Read more about SOI’s mentorship program here and if you’re an alum, consider signing up!

Mentorship is a word that is tossed around a lot these days. We know it’s important, but what does it actually mean? 

Formally, mentorship is an alliance between two individuals who, over time, work together to share knowledge and achieve their goals. In reality, good mentorship is so much more than that. Every mentoring relationship is unique and can take on many different forms. Whether we’re talking peer-to-peer mentorship, group mentorship, intergenerational or intercultural mentorship, sitting down with an elder, or something else altogether, participating in mentorship is a valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

Regardless of age, having a mentor can change the way we perceive and act in the world.

Mentoring increases confidence and can significantly reduce anxiety associated with taking big steps in life. Whether it’s building up the nerve to step outside your comfort zone, or applying to your dream job, having a mentor to cheer you on and give you honest advice can be invaluable. Perhaps the most important thing to note – mentoring does not always have to take on big goals, it can be as simple as having someone to reassure you that you’re on the right track or someone who you can bounce ideas off. 

From the mentor’s perspective, being involved in a mentorship relationship can be equally as rewarding! In the most basic sense, it simply feels good to help others. Sharing life experiences and encouraging the next generation can be very fulfilling. Speaking and working with youth not only provides an opportunity to hear new perspectives but is also an opportunity to reflect and learn from others.

At SOI we believe that learning is a life-long journey, so mentors can always be mentees and mentees can be mentors!

At SOI, mentorship is a core component of our programming both during and after expedition. While onboard expedition, participants are divided up into smaller groups called pods, which serve as smaller learning communities within the business of expedition. Beyond pod groups – which act as a peer-to-peer mentoring space to support youth participants in exploring, sharing, discussing, reflecting, connecting, and more – students are also invited to participate in Shipmates. Shipmates is a one-on-one mentoring program where students can sign up to connect with an expedition staff member who has similar interests. By initiating this mentorship early in the expedition, staff and students have time to connect and build a relationship before the end of the expedition. Shipmates often stay in contact with each other after the expedition.  

Though expedition participants have long stayed in contact in mentorship style relationships beyond expedition, the SOI Alumni Team now facilitates a formalized Mentorship Program! This new program, currently running as a pilot, has been created using our alumni program, MySOI, to help alumni connect across expeditions and geographic locations. It connects SOI alumni with a mentor who can provide them guidance, advice, and assistance from a real-world point of view. 

No matter what stage of life you’re in, mentoring is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Bringing people together and forming these powerful relationships is at the core of the SOI experience. If you are an SOI or C3 alumni sign up for our new Mentorship Pilot Program on MySOI today!