Some college degrees are relatively manageable and are earned independently by most students. However, other degrees are extremely hard to take on alone and for some people, they require the aid of a mentor.
If you are earning one of those degrees, like UNE’s masters in social work, then you know just how important it is to have someone in your life who can help to guide you through the process of finishing school in one piece mentally, emotionally, and physically.
However, finding that person is a difficult task. Before you find a true mentor, you need to ask yourself a few key questions. The answers to these questions will help you to find a mentor in college.
What do you Need in a Mentor?
There are a lot of different kinds of mentors out there. From academic mentors, to social mentors, to professional mentors, and even overall life mentors. Before you go looking for a mentor, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re looking for from this person.
If you want guidance in the career you would like to pursue, don’t ask that person for advice when it comes to your relationships. If you need a social mentor, don’t expect that person to help you develop better study skills. So be sure that you don’t disappoint yourself by not making your expectations clear from the beginning. You need to make these expectations clear to yourself and to your chosen mentor.
Also, you need to make sure that you are clear on his or her expectations and that you are fully willing to cooperate with that person from the very beginning. A mentor/mentee relationship needs to be built on trust and open communication.
Who do you Look up to?
Once you know exactly what you want from your mentor, you need to find someone who you look up to in that regard. This person needs to not only be a master when it comes to whatever you need help with, but that person also needs to be very capable of teaching another person how to master those skills.
As you will find in many of your college classes, just because someone is very knowledgeable in a given field does not mean that they are an excellent teacher. So you want to be sure that the person you choose is not just a master and not just a teacher, but a master teacher.
What can you Provide in Exchange?
In the end, the relationship you develop with your mentor needs to be reciprocal. Just because you are the one receiving instruction doesn’t mean that you do not need to be giving back in return. Most mentors don’t expect some kind of monetary gain, but rather, that you give back in other ways.
When you are fully cooperative and you make progress, your mentor feels a sense of accomplishment. If you are not willing to follow instructions at any point, then you should end the mentorship, rather than asking for an alternative. Because when push comes to shove, either you trust your mentor or you don’t, and if you don’t, then you shouldn’t waste anymore of anyone’s time.