Friday, February 3, 2017
J.D. Vance and Mentors
A few months ago, J.D. Vance, Yale Law School graduate and author of New York Times Best Seller Hillbilly Elegy, talked about "America's forgotten working class."
With the rise of Donald Trump, Vance's book and the book's topic have been much discussed.
I, however, want to focus on Vance's discussion after the 10 minute mark where he thanks various mentors for helping him overcome family financial, and community-based problems. Without a stable immediate family, Vance found guidance from his grandparents, the military, and his professors.
Raised in a predominately individualistic culture, I believed, for a long time, that hard work was the primary driver of success. I still think individual dedication is important, but looking back, I am also incredibly thankful for the many people who provided a helping hand along the way.
While most schools do not specifically reward it, I think professors are particularly well situated to mentor students. We can also be incredibly helpful to our more junior colleagues. Recognizing the value of the mentors in my own life, I do hope to "pay it forward" and become increasingly involved in the mentorship process.
What Tom N. said! Each of us stands on the shoulders of others, and we each should offer a leg up to others to stand on ours. Thanks, Haskell.
Posted by: joanheminway | Feb 3, 2017 6:32:31 PM
Your blog post reminds me that many of my most meaningful professional experiences are not professional conferences, presentations, or papers--they're one-on-one meetings with students. Sometime's it's like pulling teeth to get students to visit me outside of classroom hours. But I (and hopefully they) typically feel like it's time well spent. Despite the fact that such student-centered interaction does little or nothing for our broader professional recognition, tenure, and promotion, I plan to continue doing so long after my professional research pipeline has dried up.
Posted by: Michael C | Feb 7, 2017 6:21:47 PM
Amen to: "Raised in a predominately individualistic culture, I believed, for a long time, that hard work was the primary driver of success. I still think individual dedication is important, but looking back, I am also incredibly thankful for the many people who provided a helping hand along the way."
Posted by: Tom N. | Feb 3, 2017 9:29:20 AM