Guest Blog – What the Career Mentorship Program Means to Me

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I have always loved reading and writing. As a child, I often imagined living in a library, surrounded by thousands of books. I dream of being a published author and finding my books in libraries around the world. I want to be the next J.K Rowling.

In the Fall of my senior year, I took Career Mentorship 1, mentoring at the Dublin Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library to learn about Library Science. While I enjoyed my experience, I knew that my passion is writing these books. Sitting down with Mrs. Holycross for Career Mentorship 2, she urged me to exclusively focus on creative writing in preparation for college.

How does a high school student get a published author to agree to mentor them? You ask for help.

I emailed a few of my favorite authors, asking if they give me feedback on my chapters and answer questions. I was super excited when Eileen Cook, a teen fiction author who lives in Vancouver, Canada, responded. We emailed back and forth before a video chat to establish a professional connection.

During our first chat, we established areas of focus, such as descriptive language, past/present tense, and active/passive voice. Eileen shared her writing process and we talked about the publishing industry. She provided websites and books to assist with character development and writing descriptive scenes. In return, I emailed the first four chapters of my passion project, a modern-day version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Throughout this semester, Eileen and I video chat regularly. We review her comments and I ask more questions. For example, Eileen would help me to figure out if specific dialogue is realistic for a character to say or if it is better to have the character think those thoughts. It is amazing and gratifying to know that I had a published author reading my chapters and cheering me on throughout the entire process.

The Career Mentorship Program, Mrs. Holycross, and Eileen all helped me work towards achieving my dream of being a published author. Without this class and without their help, I wouldn’t know what to major in in college or believe that I would be able to actually write a book. This class changed my life because I was able to work on something I loved doing without fear of failure. I will be a Creative Writing major at Bowling Green State University in the Fall.

I recommend that everyone in the Hilliard City School District take this class. It teaches students to find their passion through learning communication skills, professionalism, and hard work. Finding a mentor in an area you are passionate about can be hard, but I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. Contact people, even when you think you might hear a ‘no’, because there will always be a ‘yes’ somewhere down the road. As in my case, my mentor lived in another country but that didn’t stop me from reaching out to her and getting help.

My mission statement is being able to “let go of the fear that is holding you back” because once you do, a world of possibilities opens up. It’s important to try something no matter what the outcome could potentially be.

My parting thought is a quote that I try to live my life by: “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald). It applies to any situation in life, no matter where a person is in their journey. Have the power to find your purpose and drive in life because each and every person has the ability to make a difference.

-R.C. Johnson

Class of 2019