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Becoming a Mentor

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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Before starting my first year of college, I didn’t really understand the concept of having a mentor. I figured it was just a person assigned to you that would give “advice.” As college progressed, I realized that every human benefits from guidance and that a mentor can serve many roles from professional advisor to personal confidant.

It was at my alma mater where I learned how to be a mentor to others. I learned that the best mentors are willing to learn and listen, and are rooted in humility. Mentors not only fill the void for representation, but also allow their mentees to “feel seen” by being able to relate to unique experiences and issues.

Why I Became A Mentor

I chose to become a mentor because it fulfills me to learn about another person. Mentoring also spoke to my passion for journalism, opening my mind to an infinite number of stories and people. The training to become a mentor consisted of covering social issues and understanding my own leadership style. Since every mentor can technically be a mentee, it’s a constant self-discovery journey. The revelation you make of yourself is the most impactful takeaway because it’s never linear. For example, Imposter Syndrome has affected my ability to mentor because I’ve contemplated if I’m at a point of stability to even share advice. I’ve learned, however, that it’s most important to understand what you can uniquely bring to the table as a mentor.

Build Transparency

Transparency is the key factor that will always keep any relationship thriving. It needs to constantly be present because emotional availability is crucial for results. I realized the more in tune I was with my emotional intelligence, the more receptive and understanding a person I became.

Although there are many benefits to being a mentor, there are also hardships. From my experience, some of those hardships consisted of struggling to engage and connect with all mentees on the same level. The experience you’ll have with each mentee will be dependent on the individual and how willing they are to communicate with you.

Set Goals and Expectations

Mentorship has to be a mutual effort. The only way to build a relationship between a mentor and mentee is to have both parties committed to the same goals. Therefore, setting intentions from the beginning will hold each individual accountable and allow mutual understanding.

Keep An Open Mind

The last takeaway would be that each person should be open to constructive criticism. The only way to evolve as a mentor is to become as self-aware as possible. During moments where you may feel you know it all, the reality is you don’t and never will. The idea of never knowing it all will eventually bring you peace when you realize that it’s an impossible feat. It’s important to release yourself from any fears of being wrong or giving the “right” guidance because at the end of the day, mentorship – like life – is simply just a lifelong learning journey.

Look For Opportunities To Mentor

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, there are always opportunities available. Try speaking with your school’s career center to see if they have formal peer mentorship programs for students and recent grads. You can also tap into affinity groups at work, non-profit organizations, or your current and former student organizations.

Want to understand more of the value of mentorship? Check out our Why It’s Important for Professionals to Have Mentorship article.

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