As a mentor, I am not only simply lead by example, but also by involvement 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 in 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 undergraduate students, which is about the course’s small projects and discussions about my 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 about 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 students’ aims, goals, and their future work. I did this during a couple of informal lunch breaks with Todd. Establishing a positive relationship between the mentee and the mentor requires time. Keeping the conversations confidential will increase 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 like it’s his own work.
In our Interactions. We have established a friendly relationship 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 of 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 for good communication because Todd feels more comfortable telling me the ideas that are in his mind before telling them to others.
Listening actively to others’ ideas, expressing interests, and responding to ideas are important. While conducting research, there is a high probability that you moves in the wrong direction. So staying focused on your goals while conducting research is very important for mentoring. I told Todd to ask as many questions as you have in his 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 acknowledgements 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 endeavours. Mentoring is a procedure that is eventually rewarding and satisfying for both parties.