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Describe your relationship

Alondra: In the short time I have known Gwen she has become a very significant person in my life. She literally has become family to me. The law school application process is difficult, but it’s doable if you have a strong support system. For a lot of us, LEAP is the first introduction we have had to a practicing lawyer, and knowing we have someone we respect so much on our side and supporting us is highly beneficial to our application cycle. I am extremely grateful for Gwen and all that she has done to help prepare me for my law school journey.
Gwen:  It has been a delight getting to know Alondra this past year.  What is amazing is that our entire relationship during her time in LEAP has been virtual, with Zoom meetings and Facetime calls as our primary mode of contact.  I must admit when I first signed up as a mentor, as a retired attorney of many years now, I was not sure how Alondra and I would relate to one another.  Education is always something my family has valued as a way to get ahead in life, so it was exciting to be able to help Alondra on her path towards law school.   Alondra has such a wonderful, open and friendly spirit, that we bonded pretty easily.  I look forward to following her journey through law school and see where she ends up in life!

What were the greatest benefits you received out of this relationship?

Alondra:  What I benefited most from this mentorship was the fact that Gwen was not just a mentor to me- she became a friend. This last year was extremely difficult for me because I lost two of the most pivotal people in my life: my dad and my uncle. Through it all, Gwen was there. She was a loving constant in my life at a time when everything was so crazy. She was patient when I couldn’t meet up, and she checked up on me during the most difficult times. What makes our friendship and mentorship so great is the fact that she genuinely cares about me and my life, even outside of the law school application process.
 Gwen:  I felt a sense of accomplishment that I was able to help Alondra polish her application documents and also able to give her some non-legal advice from time-to-time.  And it was gratifying to see that Alondra accepted my suggestions, and I was so excited to hear about all the great law schools that she had gotten into.  Knowing that I played a role in helping Alondra fulfill her dream of attending law school, was very satisfying.  A side benefit was that talking with Alondra about a variety of things, gave me a glimpse into what the younger generation are doing, what they are thinking about, and what issues are important to them during these challenging times.

Tips for having a successful mentor/mentee relationship

Alondra: Building trust and rapport early on are CRUCIAL to a strong mentorship relationship. I had full confidence that I could be completely open with Gwen. Being honest about what we expected from the mentorship was also important. In order for us to build our relationship, we had to make sure we were on the same page so planning ahead about what times we could meet and what a tentative schedule would be like was ideal. 
Gwen:  I agree with Alondra that building trust and rapport early on is really important. It is also important to discuss how often and what vehicle to use to communicate with one another.  Since we were matched in early 2021 and before vaccinations were widely available, we decided to use a vehicle where we could see each other, so we agreed to use Facetime and discussed how often we would meet over that platform.  Over time, we would often text or email each other to see how things were going in between our Facetime calls. That became an easy way to check-in as well, that just evolved naturally for us.

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