Mentors gain leadership experience by serving as a confidential source of support for mentees on academic and non-academic matters.
Here are some tips for fostering good relationships with your mentees:
- potential topics requiring guidance: research opportunities, career paths, networking, etc. (Informational and social events organized by the Department’s student associations [i.e. GASP, UPSA] give reference themes for discussion)
- familiarize yourself with and respect your mentee’s goals/values/priorities as a fellow student; recall that you likely had/have similar situations as them but also that they may have differing feelings regarding such– listen actively and keep in mind non-verbal communication, and be accessible to your mentee
- share your personal experiences as supplemental information and to build trust with your mentee
- remember that you are by default the leader; if you have certain communication preferences then let your mentee know, or if your style is a bit more laxed then still communicate that to your mentee– otherwise, they may be hesitant to approach you due to a misunderstanding
- offer constructive feedback and relevant resource/networking leads to support your mentee in achieving their own potential
The needs of the mentees direct the goals of the mentorship.
Here are some helpful tips for a successful relationship with your mentor:
- mentors are essentially volunteers; keep in mind that they have their own work and commitments to prioritize
- gains such as research opportunities are variable and not guaranteed simply based on having a mentor
- respond to your mentor’s emails in a respectful and professional manner as this relationship is meant to foster your professional career
- that being said, get to know your mentor! Learning from a peer’s personal experiences is a valuable way of gaining knowledge and can make this opportunity an enjoyable and meaningful part of your educational journey