How to figure out the kind of mentor you need

academic advice High School mentorship
By Shae

Everyone has their favorite season! Some people adore summer because of the good weather, time off from school, and fun vacations with friends and family. While autumn is my favorite season, I believe the summer is a great time for a person to check in on their needs, goals, and progress. Especially at the halfway point of the year, it’s a good time to evaluate what’s working, and what’s not working, and create a plan to implement any changes that need to be made to reach your goals or maintain your progress. 

Here are a few tips on the type of mentors you should be looking for based on the current season of life you are in.

When You’re Experiencing a Transition

Whether it’s changing majors, careers, or just classes, transitions can be difficult without the right support to help you reach the next step. You want a mentor who will help you build the bridge between where you are and where you’re going next. A good mentor in this situation will help you navigate closing the gap between here and there.

When You’re Stuck in a Rut

Feeling unmotivated or even discouraged at times is a normal part of life. Sometimes it’s the class that looked intriguing from the description but ended up being more work than you planned for. Other times, you might feel disappointed about not getting the internship or placement you worked hard for.  

In this season of life, you need a mentor who can help you figure out your “why,” the motivating factor behind the goals and aspirations you have set for yourself. Yes, this essay assignment may seem superfluous, but how can you reframe the assignment as an opportunity to explore a new topic or refine your writing skills? A good mentor will be able to reframe your mindset to set you up for a comeback. 

When You’re Embarking on Something New

Mentors provide coaching and advice, but they also serve as a resource with a wide network. At the end of the day, one mentor can’t be everything you need all at once. However, the more time you spend outlining your goals and aspirations to your mentor, the more they can dig deep into their network to connect you with the people who can offer you targeted advice for your new endeavor.

When You’ve Reached a Goal

Congratulations on achieving one of your goals! In this season of your life, you may think a mentor is unnecessary. While success is good, it can also be temporary. In this season of your life, you’re going to need a mentor who can help you maintain your progress or challenge you to set new goals and systems to help you widen your skills and maybe even have an impact on others.

Key Takeaway

Just remember that the seasons of life are like the seasons of the year: you have to get through one you don’t like as much to get to the one you want. Finding the right mentor can help you get through (and maybe even enjoy) the season you are in.

Shae holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago and an MA in History from Harvard University. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History at Harvard University.


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