How Mentoring Stole My Heart

How did I begin mentoring?

I did not begin mentoring, or being mentored, by choice. I was a very head strong individual and I thought I knew everything so I wasn’t looking for the help. At some point, somebody said something that finally got through to me. I know who it was, but I don’t know what she said or why that was the time that made it make sense. I do know that I would not change it for the world.

What is the difference between a formal and an informal mentor?

A formal mentor is someone who is assigned to you whereas an informal mentor is a relationship that sort of happens on its own. I have both formal and informal mentors, and I still look to both with related and unrelated things. I feel like I have made a special connection with every mentor that I have had and every mentee that I have had. A friend of mine pointed something out not too long ago, and that was that the word “former” never truly exists in this type of relationship. Once a mentor/mentee, always a mentor mentee.

How do you set up a mentor-mentee relationship?

A mentee can request for somebody to be their mentor very easily. If you find somebody that you think will help guide you in life, you simply need to approach them with the truth. If they have qualities of being a good mentor (willing to give time, good leadership skills, life experience), then this should be no problem at all. At first, it may be difficult to read people. And you may find after a while that you do not get along with the person as well as you thought you might (although, this can come from either direction). That is a-okay too, you just need to follow what you think is right.

Who drives the relationship between mentor and mentee?

The mentor should drive the relationship, however, the mentor does not always drive the relationship. By being the elder, leader, and experienced individual, the mentor should be the one to tell the mentee how things are going to go. I don’t mean bossing someone around- but set the expectations for the frequency of contact. Listen to the mentee and see what he/she needs, but go with your own style to make it work. As mentee, you should make sure that your mentor is there for you whenever you need something. Chances are, it is one mentor per many mentees and they will not always notice when something is awry with you. You must have the courage to speak up when something isn’t right.

Who needs mentors?

Everybody! No matter how old or how young you are, you need a mentor. I began this post by stating that I thought I didn’t. I thought I could figure it all out on my own. However, even when you think about children who have role models, it’s the same thing, but with a much more intimate connection.


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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