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Unlocking Your Potential: The Impact of Mentorship in Cultivating Leaders

This is a tale about how having a broken pancreas led to a triumphant transformation


No, I didn’t actually break my pancreas.


Hello, my name is Chloe Agas, and I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease in 2021 called Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. 


Following a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis, I was stuck in a position where I felt lost, in a dark state filled with loneliness and despair.  I remember the days following a grueling hospital visit where I felt like my goals were out of reach. I felt myself at a disadvantage, feeling like I was falling behind with school, extracurriculars, relationships and my health.

 

It all reached a breaking point one night, and anxious thoughts overwhelmed me continuously for weeks. I decided to finally reach out for help. As someone who prefers to keep her personal struggles to herself, reaching out for help seemed daunting. However, expressing that I needed assistance within various aspects of my life actually fostered my growth and resilience. 


Even almost 3 years since I got diagnosed, mentorship benefits me in ways that have helped me assist others as well. January is National Mentorship Month, and during this time I recall the various instances where I have received mentorship. I realize that mentorship has been prevalent in multiple forms, which have guided me in evolving into the person I am today. 


My Myer-Briggs personality type is ENFJ. I love to connect and surround myself with people from various backgrounds and interests. Coming from a small high school to a school as big as UCLA, I was overwhelmed at the thought of how I can make close connections while I was at college. 


My high school friends and I are inseparable. They have guided me through the highs and lows, and have seen the truest form of myself. Being separated from them gave me fear of how I could function alone for the first time in a while. I was clueless on what steps to take without them by my side–whether that would be advice on how to approach that cute guy classmate or encouragement to study regardless of how anxious I was of the outcome. This mentorship was what got me through high school, and the thought of not seeing them everyday in college was daunting. 


However, the fear that once overwhelmed me turned into the unexpected. 


I decided to explore the various clubs my school had to offer. I got myself involved with my culture through the Philippine organizations, met other Type 1 Diabetics through The Diabetes Link, and even pursued a passion of mine–writing for the Sports section for my school’s newspaper, “The Daily Bruin.”


With my involvement in these organizations, I was able to meet a variety of people. My peers within the organizations would help me grow into someone who is not afraid to connect and empower those around me. As my favorite YouTubers Yes Theory once said, “A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.” 


Besides the connections I have created with my peers within student organizations, I also began personal connections with some of the most incredible people ever. My friends here at UCLA are individuals that drive me to get out of my comfort zone and reach my full potential. 


Once strangers turned into my strongest connections and incredible mentors. Without their guidance through their mentorship and friendship, I have been able to become a confident version of myself. Fear is now something that excites me, because behind that fear is an incredible opportunity. 


I owe everything to my friends both from high school and college alike, because they are the greatest support system I could ever ask for.


The final mentorship experience I am sharing is one that helped me develop four core values. I call this the CARE plan–Community, Accountability, Retention and Empowerment. 


To my internship class mentors, who have spent long hours and sacrifice their time to help foster leadership skills within their students every class. Without their encouragement, I would have not been able to feel empowered to become a leader for my community. Without their lessons on retention and accountability, I would not have been able to advocate for myself and the community. 


My internship class mentors would give us lessons on how we could serve our communities within and outside of UCLA. They helped us grow into more confident individuals, create connections, and even assisted us in putting our leadership skills into action–whether this would be facilitating a meeting or creating a workshop for students. They were especially helpful in taking us step-by-step down the path of self-development. 


Their mentorship through their advice and encouragement cultivated us into pursuing opportunities not just individually, but as a community. These internships would grow my passion for community service, and how I could utilize my own leadership platform to help others around me. 


I am thankful for the experiences and lessons I have gained from these resources, and encourage others to look for opportunities to grow. 

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By telling the story about my personal experiences, I encourage others that it is OK to ask for help. Through mentorship and guidance, it has helped me become a confident and resilient version of myself. 


If I had to give my 2021 self some advice, it would be to keep going and to not give up on reaching her full potential. Those dreams she had are still able to become reality, and she will reach a level of self-development that is rewarding and fulfilling. 


If it weren’t for these experiences, I wouldn’t be confident enough to be writing this blog post. I hope my stories inspire you to reflect on how mentorship has guided you, or how you can help assist within your community!



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