The life cycle of a butterfly, spanning from 30 to 200 days, often passes unnoticed by many, who focus solely on the standout moments within that time frame. While three or four memories stand out, for butterflies, each day is lived as if it were their last. Commencing as an egg, progressing through stages of a larva, pupa, and finally hatching as a butterfly, their journey parallels the transformative process I underwent in my role as a mentor. I understood the importance of this chance when I took on the role of mentor for three first-year students at Elon University. Still a little scared at first, I set out on a path of learning and development akin to a butterfly’s transformation. I gained insightful knowledge from this encounter that helped me to better appreciate the value of mentorship. I eagerly accepted the job of mentor, prepared to help others on their path of self-discovery.

The Egg: A Seed of Potential

The journey begins with the life of a butterfly, starting as an egg. Prior to delving into my role as a mentor, I was deeply immersed in seminar research focused on mentoring, particularly concerning underrepresented students. This exploration aimed to uncover avenues for these individuals to access mentoring opportunities and to examine how mentors could effectively pass on lessons and guidance. However, despite my academic pursuits, my personal experiences with mentoring were less than ideal. Viewing it as a mere task with no meaning, I struggled to establish a meaningful connection with my mentor. This stemmed from a sense of disconnect; my mentor did not share my background or experiences, hindering effective communication and understanding.

The Larva: Hunger for Growth

As I hatched from the egg, a hunger for growth consumed me, propelling me into the role of a mentor. Being a CEL Student Scholar exposed me to the vast benefits of mentoring while also shedding light on the prevalent issues of accessibility. I persisted because I was committed to improving my mentees’ lives, even if at first I had my doubts about my ability to be a mentor. I had never met these three freshmen before, so I was rather nervous about this intimidating assignment of mentoring them. I kept having questions in my head. Yet, I approached each meeting with a focus on establishing a foundation of comfort, acceptance, and mutual understanding. Through meaningful dialogue and shared experiences, I began to assume the role of a mentor, offering guidance and support through challenging times.

The Pupa: A State of Transformation

As I entered the chrysalis stage, an intense transformation occurred within me. Witnessing the growth and development of my mentees throughout their first year at university, I recognized the importance of mentorship. They grew in confidence, involvement, and maturity, applying the lessons and advice gained during our interactions. That realization strengthened my conviction that mentoring is a reciprocal process in which growth and transformation occur for both the mentor and the mentee. As my mentees grew more self-sufficient over time, I understood that I had done my part as a mentor by giving them the skills and information they needed to forge their own paths.

The Butterfly: A Journey’s End and Beginning

I was ready to take flight and start a new chapter in my life when I came out of the chrysalis, having completely accepted the position of a mentor. I gained a great deal of personal growth through mentoring, including self-assurance and understanding that went beyond the mentorship connection. I realized the significant influence that mentoring had on both mentor and mentee when I bid my mentees farewell. Mentorship operates as a catalyst for growth and transformation, assisting people on their journeys to self-discovery and empowerment by cultivating meaningful relationships and establishing a feeling of community. By empowering my mentees to seize the possibilities and overcome the obstacles that lie ahead, I hope to have left behind a legacy of transformation when I walk away.


U.S. Forest Service. n.d. “Monarch Butterfly Biology.” United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed May 3, 2024.

Azul Bellot is a psychology major at Elon University. She is a 2023-2026 CEL Student Scholar working with the participants of the CEL Research Seminar on Mentoring Meaningful Learning Experiences.

How to Cite this Post

Bellot, Azul. 2024. “Fluttering into Change: A Journey of Metamorphosis through Mentorship.” Center for Engaged Learning (blog), Elon University. May 7, 2024.