Who are Mentors and how do we obtain their Mentorship?

Kk Eliza Cranston

July 04, 2021

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I'm overjoyed to be one of the 4.43 million students graduating from college in 2021. As I reflect on my college experience, I realize that there were several mentors who guided me alongside my journey. I've had professors, managers, and colleagues provide much-needed advice and networking opportunities, both of which enhanced my self-determination, confidence and work ethic.

Mentorship is vital, since it encourages us to grow in all aspects of our lives. It grants us the chance to pursue beneficial career paths, meet influential people, and explore new paths. But how exactly do we obtain mentorship in the first place? Before we answer that question, we must know who mentors are and what qualities they possess.

Mentors are advisors who shape our current and future personal and professional goals. Mentors are similar to life coaches and counselors, since they have our best interests at heart. In terms of their qualities, mentors have a professional, knowledgeable, and encouraging essence. They are exceptional leaders, effective communicators, and excellent networkers. We all probably know a handful of people in our lives who harbor these traits and skills. But how do we obtain their mentorship?

You must surround yourself with the people in your life who possess those mentor-like qualities. If you know trustworthy managers, professors, or coaches whom you trust, ask if they can be your mentors. If they accept your request, take the time to learn about them, ask them questions. Share your previous experiences and future aspirations with them. In doing so, you will allow them to get to know you better, which can help steer you in the right direction.

Secondly, after you have secured a mentor or several mentors, set up times in which you can regularly meet with them. Whether you join them for coffee once a week or have a Zoom session with them once a month, strive to set aside specific times for talking with them. The key to obtaining mentorship is consistency; therefore, establish regular meeting times with your mentors.

Thirdly, as you meet with your mentors, get to know them. Ask them questions centered on their educational and professional experiences. When you inquire about their school- and career-related history, you learn their victories and challenges, which can help you as you navigate your current and future goals. Furthermore, if they have any pieces of writing, such as college essays, resumes, cover letters, etc., ask if you can view them. In doing so, you will not only learn more about them, but you will also see how they create and format vital pieces of work that you will also need to write at some point.

Finally, network with your mentor. If you have a LinkedIn profile, add them on Linkedin. Connecting with them on Linkedin will increase your network, and ultimately aid your search for new connections, internships and careers.

Without my mentors, I am certain that I would not be where I am today: an almost college graduate with a full-time job waiting for me. My mentors guided me throughout my time as a student and as a part-time worker. They provided me with outstanding support, advice, and networking opportunities. Thus, take the time to connect with the people in your life who can help you as you navigate your path. When you find mentors and build relationships with them, it will truly change your life in a positive way.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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