When I was accepted onto the FFL Cabinet a few years ago, I knew that I was joining the ranks of some of the most passionate, confident, and well-informed women of our generation and that I was downright lucky to serve as an ambassador for the grassroots movement which sparked my conservatism. Both of these honors, among many others, were a huge part of the reason why I applied in the first place, and why I’m still humbled to be associated with FFL today.

But what about the things I never saw coming? Until I was already a Cabinet member, I never realized that the FFL team organizes a mentor-mentee system, in which new additions to the Cabinet are paired with a more experienced member as their first FFL friend, their “FFL Google,” and (more often than not) their biggest social media hype woman. And until I received my mentor, Liana, I never knew just how big of an impact my mentor would have on my Cabinet experience and life beyond.

Every FFL Cabinet mentor-mentee pairing has a unique story to tell, yet I’m positive that a handful of my fellow FFL girls can relate to the lessons I have learned from my mentor. And even if you are not on the official FFL Cabinet, these lessons are worth knowing. I hope they encourage you to find a positive role-model-turned-friend and to consider involving yourself in the FFL Network.

More than most, my mentor has shown me what FFL means by our favorite catchphrase “empowered women empower women.” To her and to all women who double as conservative role models, thank you for being strong enough to deal with your own struggles as well as those of others.

Though I have hundreds of take-aways from my mentor, these have impacted me the most:

Long distance friendships can work

Sure, it’s easier if your support system is just a short drive away, but the best friendships can’t be ruined by a few hundred miles. If you can outlast months or years with nothing but FaceTime catch-ups, direct message antics, and text rants, you know it’s a friendship worth fighting for. Of course you might play phone tag every now and then (or every time you try to get in contact), but a real friend will be patient and understanding.

When you choose to do something, dedicate yourself to doing it thoroughly

No matter what commitments you take on, make sure they are just that: commitments. Don’t sign up for anything in pursuit of recognition or personal gain, but rather because it is integral to who you are and who you want to become. Dedication will follow those intentions. From there, find your specialty within that task and give no less than your best. Yes, we can all reach highs and lows, but approaching every aspect of life with a curious interest makes the hard work more worthwhile and genuine.

A good mentor is eager to help; reach out to them

When you are intrigued by an idea or dream, you pursue it in hopes of growth and discovery. Therefore, when a potential mentor or role model resonates with you, do not be afraid to follow up an introduction with an email or to offer to take them out to coffee. In general, keep in touch with those who influence you in a positive manner. It is often said that we become like the people we are surrounded by, so make sure those people reflect your vision for your future. If someone offers to help you, be sure to reach out to them in a balanced manner, but don’t pass up on the opportunity to pick their mind for the sake of seeming completely put-together.

Stand firm in your beliefs, even if they differ from those around you

My mentor is nothing if not resilient—in terms of morals, her career, and beyond. Don’t let fads, phases, or peer-pressure break you down. Though we are different in many ways, my mentor has never made me feel as if I need to conform. Since she is humble and never the type to proclaim superiority to anyone, my mentor is the kind of woman to lead by example of quiet yet courageous principles, which has earned my respect and that of others. She also has always encouraged me to be steadfast in my standards and beliefs, especially when others make me doubt my gut reactions. By word and example, she has taught me that unyielding morals equate to enduring confidence.

Listening is one of the most selfless qualities you can possess

Above every quality I hope rubs off on me from my mentor, the ability to be a diligent listener takes the cake. To dedicate such care and genuine willingness to help is a truly admirable quality and one that is crucial for a role model or good friend to possess. It’s easy to get carried away with our own troubles and tangents, especially in a day and age that begs us to amplify our individuality online and off. So the ability to take the time to put others’ needs before your own—and not as a last resort—is a sign of humility and strength of character.

Lucy H

Lucy Hutchinson is a proud Pennsylvanian. Her life goals include riding a bison, becoming a physician, visiting all seven continents, and retiring as an old beekeeper. She spends a majority of her time studying, reading, or worrying about not studying or reading. Amidst that worrying, you’re likely to find her gushing about Jane Austen, Israel, sun protection, agriculture, and GMOs.