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As a part of the Leader advancement scholarship, every freshmen receives a mentor. I was fortunate enough to be chose by Derek Sturvist.

Derek revealed that he was my mentor in early May. We talked about meeting up over the summer since we both lived in Northern Michigan but we never worked it out and rarely talked over the summer.

Moving down to Central was nerve wrecking for me and I was feeling the pressure that I didn’t really have a connection with my mentor like my other roommates had. Those worries were quickly erased once we met up and started to hang out.

In the beginning of the school year, the Leadership Institute hosts their annual trip to Eagle Village in Evart, Michigan for the freshman and sophomore classes of LAS. They label it as a mentor/mentee retreat.

I was relieved that Derek and I had already established a relationship before we left for the retreat. I didn’t feel the pressure to become best friends over night like I might of if we weren’t already so close.

The retreat consisted of a high ropes course and other bonding activities.

We did the high ropes course the first day we were there. Derek and I both went up at the same time but Derek decided to blind fold himself. I think the idea was that I would guide him since I could see but that’s not really what happened.

Derek is fearless in everything he does. So when we got up there, he just went for it. Theoretically, I should of been guiding him but I was laughing too hard to do any good. After watching him struggle through an obstacle unaware of what he was doing, there was no way that I could of been afraid or chickened out of anything we did.

Coming back from the retreat, I feel me and Derek have a better understanding of what we both want out of our mentorship. I also feel I learned some life lessons from Derek (which is not uncommon for time spent with him).

Derek is an incredible motivational speaker and is known throughout LAS for his deep talks.  I can go to him for a good motivational speech about life at any time of the day. Even his cohort goes to him in search of an intellectual conversation. But that weekend, he didn’t need to give me a speech. Watching him interact with his cohort and even mine, I can understand why he was chosen as a leader advancement scholar.

During the mentor/ mentee retreat, Derek showed me to just go for it in life; without hesitation or fear of not knowing what was lying ahead of me.



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