Twenty-five Macon County eleventh grade students are part of a mentoring program with a dozen Auburn University students and graduate assistant Raven Conwell. The project is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the work these students do together revolves around workplace and college readiness. We meet each Thursday at the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee.
We had several visitors visiting young people with us tonight, a couple of siblings and a couple of friends of students in the program. We’re always happy to have visitors, since they always add a little extra chatter and energy to our meetings.
Everyone looked particularly snazzy tonight, both mentors and mentees. Tonight was job interview practice night, and we started off by completing job applications. Then came interviews. Dressed in their finest, the mentors asked a series of questions. Pastor Clark even jumped in at the last minute and helped us out as an interviewer, since we have more students than mentors.
“The questions that ask you to provide examples on the spot are the most difficult,” one student said, when reflecting on the interview. “Why should I consider you for this position?” mentors asked, which elicited a number of responses. “Tell me what success means to you?” was another question that put students on the spot.
During the session debrief, mentors gave constructive criticism, such as “Watch your posture. Sitting up straight tells your interviewer that you are organized, professional, and ready.” Being ready is a good way to describe not only our interview session, but the entire mentor program. Times have changed and jobs are not as easily found as they were decades ago. College admissions and landing a job requires preparation. We think our students will be ready.