A New Mentor with Experience
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mike Waski not only believes that college is a great experience, he also believes that, “You have to learn to survive on your own, and learn what it means to get by.” Waski is a Pre-Collegiate mentor for seventh grade students at Carbondale Middle School.
The Pre-Collegiate program helps students who wish to continue their education after high school, and also helps students who will be the first generation in their family to go to college. “The program has helped me do better in school. Also to do the best I can,” Pre-collegiate student Cynthia Ayala said.
Waski decided to join the program after Herb Feinzig, the foundation board member for Colorado Mountain College (CMC), told him about it and that it was a good program to be a part of.
Although it’s Waski’s first year mentoring, he seems to know what he’s doing. “Mike is a really good mentor. He gives us advice for the future,” Ayala said. Waski says that it’s important to have everything, education-wise, planned out. “You have to start thinking about college. You have to have a plan.”
Waski, who grew up in Redstone, learned at a young age what needed to be done to be able to go to college. He started earning money at five years old and would work up to eight hours to receive a dollar in return, which he would deposit in the bank. Waski started mowing lawns in third grade and kept working on up to more difficult jobs. Maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and freshman year in college, Waski never had a mentor to guide him. He had six siblings instead.
He majored in mechanical engineering. After college he worked for Chevron, a gas and oil company. While working for Chevron, Waski had the chance to travel all over the world.
Waski loves being a mentor. He says that the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to mentoring is being consistent. “75% of the kids need to be brought along; they need to be shown what to do.” Waski teaches his students leadership. They learn to ask questions and that they are responsible for themselves. “He tells me to keep looking forward, and to not think about the past,” Ayala said.
Waski involves his students. “He brings in people who have been successful and have gone to college,” Ayala said. He’s had doctors, managers, and professors come in and talk to them about what they do and about some of their experiences.
Waski puts in about two-and-a-half hours a week into mentoring. He is also part of the Carbondale Rotary, a service club organization. There are about 1.2 million members in the Rotary internationally. They do many things like roadside clean up and other community services. “We do a great service, and it’s just non-stop fun,” Waski said. Although Waski is a busy man, he still takes time for his two boys and family.
Next year, Waski plans to take his students to CMC in Aspen so that they can experience what college is really like. “I’m looking forward to going to other colleges in Colorado,” Ayala said.
Mike Waski believes that, “You find out what you really want to do in college.” He wants his students to prove that for themselves. “It’s a great experience,” and that’s just what he wants his students to know.
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