Whether you’re a postgrad or a new academic, you can’t succeed alone. Colleagues are going to help you on your way: the best will be mentors.
What mentors can do for you:
Mentors can :
- Explain things
- Advise you
- Steer you towards the right projects and people
- Tell you when you’re getting it right (and wrong)
- And encourage you when things get rough
What kind of person makes a good mentor? Look for someone whose career and character you admire:
- Someone you aspire to be like.
- Someone who has lots of experience in your field.
Where do you find a mentor?
If you are working in a university now, it should be someone you work with. If you aren’t yet, approach someone you wish you worked with.
Help with finding a mentor
Many universities and some professional associations have formal mentoring schemes. Be ready with your own suggestions for who you’d like to work with.
More ways mentors can help
Mentoring is mostly about your academic career, but the best mentors can advise you on personal issues that may affect it: like being a parent or a disabled person. Your mentor may also be the perfect person to ask for a reference.
Return the favour
Offer to help your mentor with a project or tell them about research that’s under the radar. And make sure you pass it forward someday by helping new colleagues.