Finding and Maintaining Meaningful Mentorships

Mentor. We’ve heard this word used a million times, but what even is a mentor? What’s the purpose of a mentor? How do I get one? How do I become one? As a current mentor and mentee myself, I’ve been through it all. Mentors and mentee relationships evolve in all different ways, no mentorship will ever be completely the same. Likewise, you can find mentors through multiple avenues. 

Find A Mentor

  • Recall a past job, internship, or volunteer role. Your supervisor could be a mentor! Working at the O’Neill Career Hub, I consider all the Hub staff to be my informal mentors. I go to them frequently for advice; whether it’s work-related or not. 
  • What about at O’Neill? Professors make great mentors. Do you go to your professor’s office hours? Do you find yourself talking about assignments, but also tips for finding an internship? That’s a mentor! Professors have endless years of experience, which comes with a lot of connections. They are a great resource to have. Furthermore, you all have an academic advisor and other student services staff dedicated to your success. Any one of these people could serve as your mentor. Remember, sometimes these relationships form organically. Let them! 
  • LinkedIn is just waiting to connect you with potential mentors. Are you maximizing your LinkedIn potential? If you’re not using it to connect with professionals and alumni in your field, then you’re missing out on this valuable, FREE tool! You can make a post on LinkedIn asking for help or directly message someone. It doesn’t have to be an extremely formal, contract-binding process. For future reference, use the Give Kudos function on LinkedIn to publicly appreciate your mentor, it will for sure make them feel valued!

In addition to finding mentors for yourself, it’s never too early to be a mentor for someone else. Mentoring is an easy way to expand your network, improve your interpersonal communication and leadership skills, and help others. Use these tips to find a mentee and maintain a successful mentorship. 

Be A Mentor

  • Find a mentee through an organization or network. There are many formal programs that can pair you with a mentee. O’Neill has a partnership with the Mentor Collective, it’s a free program that connects you with an incoming freshman. 
  • Network with others in the same major or interest. As an upperclassman, I highly recommend informally mentoring some of the underclassmen. You’ve been through more classes, had a wide range of professors, have joined student organizations, etc. Even if you are just talking to someone and suggest what classes to stay away from, that’s mentoring! Where was my mentor when I took Finite freshman year??
  • Discuss expectations and set guidelines. What does your mentee want out of this mentorship? What is their time commitment? What is yours? Do you want to meet in person or talk over the phone? All of these don’t have to be set in stone, but it’s important to have some sort of idea.

In short, mentorships are important in many ways and you should work them into your life!

By Sydney Evans
Sydney Evans