As a mentor, I am not only simply lead by an example, but also by involving in my mentee’s development. I am also doing this by reading the mind of the mentee’s future by nurturing skills that are treasured not only to his or her present work but also in their future careers. Mentoring is an exciting and enriching experience for me. Out of many types of mentoring, the goal of the mentor is to share his or her experience and knowledge to help the mentee make better decisions.
Before I joined Tulane University in 2013, my mentoring experience was mostly related to the undergraduate students, which is about course’s small projects and discussion about the future career. Then I got the visiting post at Tulane University and got an opportunity to mentor a graduate student named Todd who joined our research group. He was continuing my previous work. I was very excited for this mentoring as this is a different mentoring. From my experience I would like to share some thoughts and techniques which I used for mentoring.
At first, It is important to understand student’s aims, goals, and their future work. I did this during a couple of informal lunch breaks with Todd. To establish a positive relationship between the mentee and a mentor requires time. Keeping the conversations confidential will increase the trust. Mutual respect is also very important for good relations. The Students should not be given orders in such a way that they feel as it is others project. This should feel that it’s his own work.
In our Interactions. We have established a friendly relationship that I think is very important to create a friendly environment so that student feels safe and able to accept any failure and learn from it. To get rid of the fear or embarrassment for the student for not knowing something, we developed a two-level mentoring system, in which Todd and I met two times a week, with the general meeting held once a week. Small age is also a reason of good communication because Todd feels more comfortable to tell me the ideas that are in his mind before telling it to others.
Listening actively to other’s ideas, expressing interests and responding to the ideas are important. While conducting research, there is a high probability that you moves to the wrong direction. So stay focused on your goals while conducting researches is very important for mentoring. I told Todd to ask as many questions as you have in your mind but don’t expect to get answers to all the questions.
Todd was able to finish his work at the end of 2016, successfully defending his thesis. In the acknowledgments of his thesis, he wrote: “I must thank my mentors who have supported me, encouraged me and aided in many ways from guiding large portions of this work, to simply checking my mistakes.”
Statements like this make the whole mentoring experience worthwhile for me. I look forward to the next challenge, to work with new students and improve my mentoring skills and experience. Being a mentor is part of a noble practice that makes mentees for their future endeavors. Mentoring is a procedure which is eventually rewarding and satisfying for both parties.