At CMU, my advisor, Rubab Jafry O’Connor, takes on the roles of an academic coach, life coach, career mentor, and teacher. With cultural overlap, we share similar drive, mindsets, health-consciousness, and humor, and I’ve found both meaningful critique and praise in our discussions while feeling a sense of equality and mutual respect. Over the past three years, I’ve asked Rubab for academic, career, and personal advice, and I’ve never felt pressured to do anything; rather, Rubab has become a wise friend with vast energy and humor.
On a recent walk, we not only discussed my semester and life but my opinions of the business program. Given our trust, respect, and three-year mentor-mentee relationship, I felt entirely comfortable in speaking the truth, with respect. Rubab never interjected or expressed discontent; she instead inquired about why I held my opinions and how Tepper’s Undergraduate Business Administration could improve the curriculum and community. Throughout the discussions, I felt valued and challenged, for I needed to understand why I had formed my opinions, allowing me to reshape them more concretely and better understand the difficulty facing administrators. Moreover, our discussion lacked aggression, defensiveness, or conflict. I might even call it ideal in that we conversed rationally and respectfully, and we accepted and sought to resolve any disagreements.
In these ways, Rubab has taught me explicitly and implicitly about health: health in one’s career, one’s physical being, and one’s relationships. I count myself fortunate to study with Rubab as one of my mentors.