By Urooj Ali

During the Fall 2019 semester, I participated in the UGA Mentor Program. This was the first semester of the mentor program, and it was an amazing experience. The interface for the program is extremely easy to use and it was very easy for me to find a mentor that I really connected with because I was able to narrow down my search results. As a SPIA student, we all have that moment where we question “What am I going to do with my SPIA degree?” Well, I was matched with a recent UGA graduate that was working as a Legislative assistant on Capitol Hill and was actively applying to law school.

At the time of choosing a mentor, I was debating whether or not I wanted to attend law school or work in D.C. after I graduated. My mentor was a database of information that helped me navigate all of my options post-grad. Since she was living in D.C, we corresponded over email at least once a week. She asked my all about my dreams and aspirations and helped me create manageable tasks to help me achieve my goals. Coincidentally, she was in Athens one week and we met up for coffee! She helped me create a timeline for LSAT prep and helped me rationally decide whether or not law school was for me. She also helped me edit and enhance my resume.

Not only was my mentor a great person to help me create goals and organize all of my extracurricular activities, she is a great reference. It is so important to know people in the field you want to enter! She was able to tell me the other side to what is seemingly a very glamorous life working on the hill; there is a lot of work that goes into working in politics and I definitely recommend talking to someone with experience in the field to have a full view of what you are planning to do with the rest of your life.

The UGA mentor program is an amazing asset that we have on campus, and the mentors are from so many different fields! So if you are unsure what to do with your SPIA degree or if you just need some guidance when dealing with employers, the UGA Mentor Program can help you find someone to answer your questions. I personally believe that this program is especially important for SPIA students, because there are so many ways a SPIA degree can be used and this program connects you with graduates that have used their degrees in so many ways!