Every student needs an older friend or someone who has been in their shoes at some point. Mentors are useful during many points of a student’s life, including from when they are a young child to when they are looking for internships and jobs in their career field. Mentorships have saved children and teens from being on the streets and from dropping out of school. If you haven’t considered finding one, then you should. Mentors can be vital when it comes to offering wisdom and guidance throughout a student’s professional pursuits.
It’s a great idea to find a mentor in high school or early in your college career so that they can help guide your career options and possibly help you find a job. If your school doesn’t have a mentorship program there are ways to find alumni or professionals in your desired field. You can find a potential mentor at networking events or a student and alumni event. LinkedIn is also a great place to find older graduates and to see a person’s experiences before you meet them in person. Finding a adviser can seem like online dating, but the mentorship should be a good fit for both the mentor and the student.
It’s best to ask your potential mentor in person if they would like to take on the responsibility. You’re starting a new relationship with someone so you want to ask in person if possible. If you have to make a call or send an email, make sure you describe where you are in your education and career and what role they would take on as your mentor in meeting your future goals.
Once you have found a mentor, the next conversation needs to entail the details of the mentorship. How often will you meet or communicate? What is your end result or goal? Although, a mentor is there to help you, you should always find a way to give back to those who give to you, even if it’s just babysitting their kids if they have no one else to do it.
You shouldn’t expect an internship or a job out of mentorship because you mentor also needs to know that you’re capable of excelling in a job that they recommend for you. If you flake on your mentor, you’re likely to flake on your employer. Set your expectations high for yourself and show your mentor and others that you can do whatever task you’re asked to do. Your mentor can’t work towards your goals for you, only you can do that.
Mentorships are a great way to get your “foot in the door” of your desired industry but if you don’t work towards your goals, you may end up staying outside watching others go in. Everyone has things they want to accomplish but unaccomplished goals are only dreams. Turn your dreams into goals and accomplish them and someday you can mentor someone and assist them with accomplishing their own goals.
photo credit: Merrimack College
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