Tip #3: Help them see the difference between what they can control and what they can’t control.

Last week, we talked about the need to empathize (and not criticize) our students. We talked about how the end of the school year can feel overwhelming for many students. As mentors we have the opportunity to come alongside our students in a way that says, “Let me help you.” And, showing empathy is often the first step.

Tip #3: Help them see the difference between what they can control and what they can’t control.

The end of the school year is a lot like the finish line of a race. And, one of our goals as mentors is to help our students finish strong. But, there are often a lot of distractions in the midst of the push to the finish line that keep students from ending the year well. One of the ways that we can help our students filter out the distractions and finish well is to help them see the difference between what they can control and what they can’t control. One way that you can do that is to sit down with them and write down all the things they need to do by the end of the school year (turn in assignments, take tests, apply for a summer job, do some extra credit to pass a class, etc.). Then, have them write down all the distractions that are keeping them from focusing on finishing well. Now, take a look at both lists with your student and help them see what they can choose to do (what they can control) and what they need to let go of (what they can’t control). By helping them focus on what they can control, you are actually empowering them to do what they can to finish strong, instead of getting distracted or overwhelmed by all the things that are out of their control.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach