Finding Mentors in College

According to Brandon Busteed of Inside Higher Ed, where you go to college matters far less than how you do it, as in getting involved and seeking out resources for your future success.

Busteed says a major pillar of this success is emotional support. However, only 2 in 10 college students agreed they had a mentor during their college years who supported their goals.

Any time you go to some sort of event meant to prepare you for the professional field, you are likely to hear the word “networking.” We are told this is how you get jobs and find connections in your field for that upcoming day when you get a diploma and need somewhere to work. I have found it is often not explained, or at least explained well, how to make this happen.

One of the biggest parts of networking is finding mentors who will guide you and connect you with the people they know. This can be either a professor or someone working in the field who has relevant experience and can hopefully provide some sort of training.Photo provided by Pixabay

Through my internship, clubs and other involvement, I have been lucky enough to come across many who could make excellent mentors, some of them are people I would aspire to be like one day. Everything I should be after is right before me, but the kick? I don’t now how to ask for their help.

The greatest mentors you will come across are often the busiest, and that’s a good thing. The days of sitting down, grabbing a cup of coffee and having a chat about one’s future is gone; now is the era of stepping right in to help professionals so you can learn from them, hands-on.

If it’s a professor, look for organizations they are involved in which you can volunteer any sort of assistance with, such as help running an event. You can also become a departmental assistant, which is effectively the same as an internship on a resume (especially for those without cars on campus). If it’s someone you made a business connection with, see if you can come into the office to assist or shadow them. 

Next, when it comes to internships, never be afraid to dive right in – this is first and foremost a learning experience, and an employer should understand that. When you do not quite know how to do something, never say so. Tell them you will figure it out, and do just that to ensure you get the chance to learn and the assignment is not given to someone else, even if you have to ask a few questions along the way. Photo by Financial Times

If you need help finding platforms for networking and reaching out to possible mentors, become involved in clubs and organizations related to your major, watch for networking opportunities, utilize LinkedIn, and reach out to alumni. There are plenty of people out there who would love to invest in your college journey, but first, you have to show you are invested in them. 

Cover photo provided by Pixabay