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***HONORABLE MENTION***
TPS Writing Contest – Mentors/Mentorship

By: Heather Fisher (Guest Blogger)

Happy “Mentorship Monday,” TPS paralegals! Since we’ve announced the big winners for our mentorship writing contest, we’ll now begin to post our honorable mentions, in no particular order! Today, we’re kicking things off with a piece from Heather Fisher, an honors graduate from a paralegal program in Houston, Texas who is ready to make her way down paralegal row! Heather is here to tell us why mentors can give you a reason to dance.

So, sip that fabulous beverage of awakeness, and dive right in, my fellow, sleepy-eyed, master organizer and legal paper pushin’ friends!  

He is the one to show you the way; to help guide you on your path to greatness. She will pick you up when you are down, dust you off and push you forward. He will challenge you; inspire you. She will teach you, encourage you, and share her world with you. I am not talking about your parents, or your teachers, your grandparents or your best friend. I am talking about your mentor. And while they can be someone’s parent, or teacher, grandparent, or best friend, to you, they are nothing more than an individual who, for no particularly gainful reason, has made a commitment to you to see you through to the success that they believe you can achieve. They are compassionate, they are generous, they are unwavering in their support and most importantly, they are emotionally invested in you as an individual and want, almost as much as you do, to see you succeed.

There are many versions of heroes in this world. Some are grandiose in their deeds, as they risk their lives, so that others may have peace and freedom. Others play the role on a much smaller scale, devoting their time to research that may one day hold the key to wiping out cancer and other life threatening illnesses. To a job seeker, whose only goal is to make a better life for her family, one that is hopefully better than the one her parents strove to provide for her, her hero is the mentor who sat with her countless times to practice her interviewing skills; who helped her draft a resume that would wow even the most seasoned recruiter; who welcomed her into their network, introducing her to all the right people. And when she gets that phone call that she’s been waiting an eternity for, the follow up call from the interview she had the week before, and she is silently screaming “Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!”, desperately trying not to let the person on the other end of the phone hear her exacerbated breathing, caused by the jig she just danced in the middle of her living room, as he extended her the job offer; she is thinking of her hero; her mentor.

If you are lucky enough to have a great mentor in your corner, do not attempt to thank them. At least not in the box-o-chocolates, “thank you” card kind of way. While gifts like these are nice, the real reward for a mentor is to see you reach those goals you set out for yourself. To do right by the person who helped to get you to where you are – you have to work – and work hard. Make a name for yourself as being the most dependable, the most resourceful, and the most dedicated employee in the company. And a few years later, when you’ve achieved some of that success and you’re thinking about where you are today thanks to the help of that one person who took time out of his busy life to help you, pick up the phone, call your local university; career services center; children’s center; or any number of agencies where people go for a little help in life; and pay it forward. Be that person, that hero, that helps to give someone else a reason to dance.

My name is Heather Fisher. I am a 35 year old mother of two wonderfully beautiful baby boys and have been blessed with a fantastically supportive husband.

In 2001 I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University and, two years ago, almost to the day in fact, I earned my paralegal certificate, WITH HONORS in an ABA approved program with The Center for Advanced Legal Studies in Houston, TX. I emphasize the honors because, while I worked hard, and was very proud to have earned my spot on the honors list, it has proven to have made less of an impact for me then I thought it would and, today, I am sad to say, I have yet to land that illusive paralegal position.

I decided to write this article because I believe, with the help of a mentor, I would have done things just a little differently and might be telling a slightly different story today. For example, I didn’t do an internship in my program. Hind sight being what it is, I now see the error in that decision, because it would have been, probably my best opportunity to get my foot in the door somewhere.

I wrote this article based on what I feel a mentor does for a person. I think one of the best gifts you can give to any one person is a sense of pride in themselves for what they can do and accomplish with just a few extra tools or encouraging words along the way. There have been times, in my search, where I’ve just wanted to throw in the towel and give up on the idea of ever being a paralegal, but the drive is in me to stick with it and hopefully someday, I will get there. When I do, one of the first things on the top of my list will be to help someone out who was just like me.

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We sure hope someone in the legal field has given you a reason to dance at this point in your legal career. If not, perhaps that coveted, snoopy-dance/running man motivator is in route…at least we certainly hope so! 

We’ll see you Wednesday!

Let the count down to Independence Day begin…