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The Meaning of a Mentor: A Look Into Nikita's Experience with GIRLZ, FTW

So, I googled the meaning of a MENTOR and this popped up - "an experienced and trusted adviser". But, this definition just doesn't fit the bill. It falls short in so many points when it comes to describing my mentor, Nicol.

I've always dreamt of being a part of policy making in my country, India. That has led me to dreams of being a part of relations on an international sphere. Ultimately, the United Nations became my dream. A dream to represent my country while also identifying myself as part of this big wide world.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I got Nicol as my 'Mentor'. Now I'll explain why 'an experienced and trusted adviser' misses the mark as a definition for Nicol and for all the other super amazing mentors we girls have at GIRLZ, FTW. They are just a few years older than us but are in fields that we aspire to be in. That's where experience comes in. But, it's not just that. Our mentors are so relatable that they never use that experience in a supercilious manner. They gives us advice, but it's not imposed, and the advice is exactly what they would have done in our place and, more importantly, at our age. Advice isn't just about doing the right thing. It's about doing the thing that's right for you. That's one of the first things I learned from Nicol. After a few calls, I felt like I could ask her anything and not be intimidated by the fact that she is more experienced. I've asked her the whackiest things - from advice on my Bollywood star infatuation woes to advice on finding friends I can connect with. And she has given me the coolest advice.

From small things like organising and planning in a journal with bullet points to keep track of tasks (PS: she makes the coolest handwritten notes with different fonts), to framing a Résumé that makes me feel so much more confident about myself. From gushing over Roxanne Gay and 'Bad Feminist', to discussing the most annoying male-female stereotypes. From talking about our families and our cultures, to discussing United Nations sessions, sustainable goals, and world issues. Nicol has transcended this narrow definition of a 'MENTOR' to become so much more. A friend. An inspiration. And a hope. A hope that perhaps if she can be so awesome at conquering the dreams and goals she sets for herself, then someday I can be there too... As a person, as a woman FOR THE WIN.

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