How to Avoid Bad Mentors in College

Having a mentor in college is important because as much as we would like to think we have it all figured out, we don’t. We need guidance even on the small things. Some of us don’t know what we want our majors to be, how to make friends or how to get involved on campus so having a mentor could be beneficial. But, there is a small catch. Just because someone signed up for one of those millions of organizations, does not mean that they are capable of mentoring you. Below are some characteristics that you should avoid when seeking a mentor.

Avoid people whose lives are all over the place. Like I said before, we don’t have it all figured out, so it is understandable if your mentor doesn’t either. But, if they are failing their classes and have a lot of drama then they may not be the best mentor for you. A big part of picking a mentor is having someone who is focused and drama free.

Avoid a mentor who talks about themselves more than they do you. If your mentor makes everything about themselves and never asks about you, that is a red flag. You are the mentee and they are supposed to be there for you when you need someone to talk to, not the other way around. You would not want to settle for a friend or significant other who could care less about your needs, so do not settle for a mentor who doesn’t either.

Avoid mentors who don’t follow through. I’m sure we can all attest to the times where we tell someone we will hang out with them and then don’t. If the person interested in mentoring you cancels your lunch date and does not reschedule or continuously cancels, that’s a problem. You want someone who is reliable because a part of being your mentor is teaching you to possess great qualities as well.

Avoid mentors who are always negative. One of the great things about having a mentor is knowing you have someone to bring positivity in your life. They shouldn’t be telling you that you can’t do something. Instead, they should be trying to encourage you. Remember, there is a difference between constructive criticism and just being rude.

Avoid mentors who aren’t in it for the long run. We are in college so some people are just interested in being a mentor for the sake of being a mentor. You do not want that kind. You want someone who will be there for you after you graduate. As your mentor, that person should be trying to establish a real relationship with you which means they should want to continue to help you for as long as they can.

Once you have found a mentor who does not posses the characteristics above, you may have just found the mentor for you!