Joining the Webb Family: A Review of the Mentorship Program

By Kathryn Chaffee ‘16 

Fall 2012 marked the debut of the freshman mentorship program.  It consisted of select returning students each taking an incoming freshman under wing to ease the newcomer’s transition.  Regarding its success, the verdict is still out, with one exception.  For junior Elli Wunder '14 and me, the program was an overwhelming triumph.

It is guaranteed that every incoming student will possess some degree of intellect; it is not guaranteed he or she will possess the confidence or basic skills necessary for meaningful social interaction.  Take me, for instance.  I needed confidence.  Coming to Webb, I secretly wanted to connect with a peer.  Timidity, however, made realization of this desire rather difficult. My first introduction to Elli came in the form of an unanticipated Facebook friend request during my first week at Webb.  The blurred female shown in the profile picture was thoroughly unfamiliar.  I ignored the request and crossed my fingers that I would not later have to face some student offended by the status denial.  I mention this introduction for its irony.  The female I was so quick to write off would become my first close friend at Webb.  

The moment I met Elli, I was intrigued.  One would be correct in calling me an “odd duck.”  I quickly recognized in Elli, however, a fellow duck.  It was shortly thereafter that Elli informed me she was to be my mentor. The program was news to me, but sensing some opportunity, I ran with it.

Out of the mentorship program, I had hoped to gain a source for information and an introduction into the social scene.  Elli provided both and more.  Ultimately, she became not a mentor but a friend. I say ultimately.  Really, the transition seemed instantaneous.

Together, Elli and I have reveled in sarcasm and witty repartee, logged hours in the Long Island Sound, and explored the independent, cultural world.  No written description could do these experiences justice.

In closing, I shall say the following.  Shortly into my fall semester, I learned that sophomore Cody Owen was responsible for the mentorship pairings. Currently, he is one of four sophomores studying in Southampton.  Of you, the reader, I ask this.  Come next semester, remind me to thank him.  He, with his remarkable social aptitude, bestowed upon me a most meaningful gift.  Without him, without the program, I would have missed out.