How to Find a Mentor in College
We all seek a little guidance from others at some point in our lives. College is one of those time periods in which finding a mentor can be crucial to your success. There will come a time when you’ll need to know how to make better decisions, or you’ll want to graduate and find a job, but you don’t know what steps to take. That’s where having a mentor can pay huge dividends.
Seek Someone in Your Field
If you want to be a teacher, you’re going to want to find someone who used to be a teacher (good thing college is full of professors) and soak up their wisdom. If you want to become a journalist, you’ll probably want to connect with an experienced reporter. The same thing goes for any field, job, or profession.
Once you find someone (or multiple people, the more you have the better chances of success), you have to start building a relationship. Ask to meet with them and let them know that you’re looking for guidance in your academics, job search, or whatever your reason is.
By going to them, they’re going to want to help you. People love it when others ask them for help. And if you’re honest with them about your intentions, they’ll be inclined to help you more than just a letter of reference or for networking purposes. A good mentor will challenge you and teach you more than just what you’re asking of them.
Start as Early as Possible
The earlier you find someone, the more time you’ll have to build a relationship with them. If you’re a freshman and you’re reading this, you lucked out. If you’re a senior, your luck isn’t so high. But not to worry, it’s never too late.
It’s also good to point out that the people that you seek out will want to mentor you if you’ve gone above and beyond to help yourself succeed. When they see that you’re taking initiative, they’ll put more time and energy into aiding your success.
Be Consistent and Honest
Sometimes, people aren’t going to come to you. You’re going to have to go to them and seek help. When you’re honest and consistent, you’re showing that person what you really want. And they’re going to want to help you ten times more because of how genuine you’re being.
Also note: it’s not going to happen overnight. You’re not going to find someone and then have their trust from the beginning. You have to earn it. You have to want their guidance bad enough to keep coming back to them for advice.
Pick Their Brain
It’s imperative that you maximize your exposure to your mentor. Pick their brain. Allow them to coach you. Give them a chance to teach you. Even if you think something doesn’t pertain to you, take it all in. You have to remember that these people used to be in your shoes.
They already walked down the road that you’re about to go down. Listen to them. Hear them out. And when you think that they’re saying something that may have nothing to do with you, take a step back and reflect on it. Maybe it was something that they wanted to tell you indirectly to see if you capitalize on it.
They aren’t just going to give you answers all the time; sometimes you have to work for it. But that makes it so much more worth the experience.
Image: Merrimack College