The second edition of Learn It Girl! finally kicked off this week after tremendous amounts of efforts on the parts of all the applicants and the organizers. I personally am aware of the issues encountered being an organizer but today I am here to talk about my experience as a mentor as that is possibly the most selfless volunteer task in this program. I have mentored my fellow juniors and take classes at a local institution but each experience is as unique as night and day. The level of commitment and willingness that goes into one-on-one mentoring is both surprising and humbling.
Honestly when I applied as a mentor I had little idea of how everything will progress, I had no misgivings of my technical abilities but after a point it is the way you come across that matters. While teaching I have to question every sentence I speak to make sure I did not assume any background knowledge required for the same, the tasks have to built up from the scratch with increasing level of difficulty and you have to judge both, your ability to impart a certain piece of information and that of your mentee to grasp it. The process is interactive, thought provoking and ultimately rewarding in terms of the joy and gratitude you can hear in the voice of the one being taught. In my opinion it forms one of the most sacred bonds – built on the foundation of give and take of knowledge.
The task does not come without its share of hiccups or rather practical constraints as most of the mentors (to the best of my knowledge) are not professional instructors and to decide a suitable path to undertake within the given three months can be at times daunting. I am in a personal dilemma on deciding how much of the project proposed by my mentee (an ambitious and innovative idea) is possible in the given time considering everything has to learned from scratch. I wouldn’t want to deliver anything less than what she envisioned. But these are small problems, better and beautiful solutions to which I am sure will arise on discussion and deliberation. At times I am as excited as I was when I first had the same lessons. This journey will hopefully help many (both mentors and mentees) in their own unique way and help shape a tech community that is built from within with crusaders to take its mission forward and others being prepared to carry the torch in future.