You Need A Mentor

If you want to supercharge the value you are getting from college, find one or more mentors.

You might not know or have a vague idea of what a mentor is. A mentor is someone who is more experienced than you, and who agrees to help you. They do this by sharing knowledge and wisdom, identifying opportunities you might not be aware of, and helping you achieve your goals. Best of all, they provide these services for free. Sounds good, right? You need a mentor.


So how do you find a good mentor? There are two ways to do this. There is the formal way, in which you approach someone you know and ask if they would be willing to be a mentor to you. Faculty members can make good formal mentors, but this requires you get to know your professors. This is one more reason why you need to go to office hours. The second way is the informal way. In fact, you may already do this, but not know it has a name. Other students that are a year or two ahead of you make great informal mentors. They can provide advice on how to navigate difficult classes, or effectively manage your time. They can point you in the direction of useful resources on campus. You do not need to ask these people to be your mentor—they already are.

Mentoring programs could already exist on your campus. Find out if your college has formal mentoring programs. For example, my college has mentoring programs for first year students, nursing students, and STEM students. It requires you to take some initiative, but it will be well worth it. In the future, you might even find yourself mentoring others.

Once you graduate, your mentoring experience will be valuable. Mentoring exists in the working world too. You probably will not be required to have a mentor, but people who have mentors get promoted five times more often than those that do not. The sooner you start working with mentors, the better.

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