Looking for a Mentor in College? Here's How
By: Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a apart of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
While there are many game changers and Millennials starting businesses and creating solutions for some of the world’s biggest problems, many of them are still looking to establish a mentor. According to Management Mentors, over 80% of CEOs polled have stated they have had mentors, or in other words, a trusted and experienced person to help guide them through their career.
Having a mentor is a major key to professional success. The people who’ve weathered their career storms and prospered in their fields are a wealth of knowledge, not only from their verbal advice but from their mistakes.
Although everyone has their own path, if you have a specific vision for your career then a mentor will benefit you greatly. And it’s best to start early.
Here are four specific ways to establish a mentor in college.
Have a vision and plan.
Where do you want to be in the next two to three years? What kind of work you would like to do? Have a solid idea of these things first before approaching a mentor. He or she won’t be much help for you if you don’t know what you want to do! You don’t need to have 100 percent of your life figured out, but before you establish a mentor-mentee relationship, know your goals.
Establish a relationship before you ask.
Don’t just walk up to someone and ask them to be your mentor. Start by getting to know him or her and cultivating a relationship with them through your work. They should be willing to invest time into you by lending your advice or sharing resources. Once an authentic bond is created, only then can you seal the deal.
Research your potential mentor.
As you are seeking a mentor, it is important to do your homework on them. Look them up on LinkedIn or Google to find out their professional journey before they got to where they’re currently at. People love to talk about themselves, so this would be a good conversation starter once you meet them. If it is someone that goes to the same school, just reach out to them and ask if you could have a little of their time to get to know them better. Remember to take advantage of your student resources and see if there are any programs on campus that match students up with mentors.
Make sure they are attainable.
You don’t have to reach out to a CEO and ask if they can mentor you. While this would be great, they may not have the time to mentor you because they are busy running a company. Your mentor should be someone that can help you meet your short-term goals. Do you know a senior on campus who is leading a lot of cool initiatives that you would love to do? Has his or her college success inspired you and make want to be in their shoes when you become a senior? They’re a perfect candidate for a mentor, too. It’s great to build a relationship with them and follow in their footsteps!
The bottom line is that your mentor doesn’t have to be anyone famous. He or she just needs to be someone that will invest in you and provide you with the tools and advice to achieve your goals.
Establishing a mentor takes time and won’t happen overnight. If you follow these tips and are eager to establish genuine relationships, you will have someone by your side to invest in you and your professional growth.
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com.