How to Find Your Mentor

3 Feb

Maintaining a relationship with a professor is not as difficult as it seems at first. Believe it or not, they really want to get to know their students. But you do have to make an effort for that to happen.

Step 1: Choose a professor. Pick one whose personality is a good fit for you or whose area of interest is something you’d like to learn more about. Harry was really interested in Defense Against the Dark Arts, so he approached Professor Lupin to learn more.

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The best mentorships come from natural connections.

Step 2: Set up a time to meet outside of the classroom. One easy way to do this is through office hours. If your professor’s office hours don’t fit into your schedule, send them an email and schedule a time to meet, you can even offer to take them to lunch. Luckily, you won’t need a secret password to get into their office, like Professor Dumbledore’s.

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Professors have a lot of wisdom and knowledge to offer!

Step 3: Ask questions. You can start off with things that you don’t understand about course content or more in-depth knowledge that you’d like to know. Also ask questions about why they chose their field, experiences that they’ve had, their hobbies, and any advice they might have.

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In-depth conversations about a professor’s background can reveal commonalities you never expected.

Step 4: Get involved. Ask if they have any opportunities to get involved with research, preceptor, or work on extra projects. Showing genuine interest is always best. As Harry gained Dumbledore’s trust, he was able to help with important tasks.

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If you aren’t sure where you want to go, talking with a professor can offer a lot of guidance.

Step 5: Let them get to know you. The more time you spend with them, the easier this will be. Let them learn who you are as a person, your interests and hobbies, and what’s going on in your life. They genuinely care about your well-being. If you are looking to get a letter of recommendation, it helps for them to have a well-rounded picture of you.

Building these relationships take a lot of time and effort, but they are worth it!

-Gabriela

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