How To Turn Your Professor Into A Mentor
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One way you can help yourself get ahead is to find a mentor. What is a mentor? A mentor is someone available to provide support, answer questions, and offer advice. College is a great place to find a mentor because you have access to professors are who are experienced in your dream field! They can provide knowledge, expertise, and perspective. Studies show that having a supportive mentor can greatly improve your life during and after college. Use these 6 tips to find and facilitate a successful mentor relationship.
Figure Out Why You Want a Mentor
Before you start the process of finding someone to mentor you through college and beyond, it’s important to really think about why you want a mentor in the first place. Mentors don’t directly supervise or manage you, they simply offer advice from an experienced point of view. Think about your career goals. Think about what you think your career path will look like or what you want it to look like. Ask yourself what skills you need to learn to get there. Mentors can help you understand what skills you need and also help you develop them. This includes technical skills and soft skills like leadership and teamwork.
Find a Mentor with Similar Interests
No matter what field of study you’re in, it’s crucial to find a professor who shares your same enthusiasm for your field. This looks like a similar field of interest and similar background. Make an effort to attend lectures, events, and student organizations that are about your field of study. These places will have faculty and other students with the same passions and interests.
Don’t Limit Your Options
While it may seem easiest to pick a professor from your university, you don’t necessarily have to. Try looking at professors at other universities who may have a different network. Junior faculty members can make great mentors because they have been where you are more recently and can sometimes relate better. If you want a mentor for research purposes, consider reaching out to someone who can bring a different perspective to your research. Advisors can also be good contacts. Update your LinkedIn Profile with CareersBooster.
Make an Appointment
If you’d like a mentor to continuously follow up with you and be involved in your decision-making, you have to be polite and ask them to be your mentor first. Have your list of what you’d like in a mentor and contact at least a few different people you think would be a good fit. Make an appointment to sit and chat with them and see if your personalities would work well together. While some people’s achievements look good on paper, that doesn’t mean they’d be an ideal mentor. Select the mentor you feel is the best match for you and ask them if they have the time, ability, and means to mentor you. Set up a schedule to meet or talk regularly. Planner Pads Co. offers a unique system that helps you organize, prioritize and schedule what matters most to you.
Do Your Best Work
If your mentor happens to be one of your professors, do your best work. Show up to class on time, turn in your assignments, and come to class prepared. Ask thoughtful questions in class. If your mentor is going to write you a recommendation letter, you want them to include how well you work, so now is the opportunity to prove it. If you found your mentor in a college club, attend the club, and actively participate in the activities and events. Be proactive by volunteering to plan activities and challenging yourself.
Contact your mentor regularly. Use the schedule you originally set up. Since you don’t want to only go to your mentor when you need something, share small successes and your plans as well. Follow up with emails or texts, whatever your mentor is comfortable with. Respect their time and don’t constantly bombard them, but also don’t let several weeks go by without contacting them. The relationship shouldn’t be one-sided, you can also give them your perspective. Even though you’re coming from a place with less experience, they will find it valuable. It’s important to keep your relationship strong so you can enjoy the benefits of having an experienced member of your field help you succeed.
Whatever profession you want to pursue, a good mentor can help you get there. Use these tips to find the mentor that’s right for you, and get to work!
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- “How to Find an Academic Mentor.” - https://academicpositions.com/career-advice/how-to-find-an-academic-mentor
- “How Can I Build a Meaningful Mentoring Relationship With a College Professor?” - https://www.bestvalueschools.com/faq/how-can-i-build-a-meaningful-mentoring-relationship-with-a-college-professor/#:~:text=Make%20an%20Appointment%20to%20Meet%20with%20Professors&text=Be%20sure%20to%20ask%20if,most%20in%20common%20with%20professionally.
- “What Is a Mentor?” - https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/what-is-a-mentor
- “Life in College Matters for Life After College.” - https://news.gallup.com/poll/168848/life-college-matters-life-college.aspx
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