Earning a degree is a great way to meet people, both fellow students and teachers, who share your passions and interests. It is essential that you make a good impression on those you meet during your studies, as these are people you may be connecting with in your professional life too. However, school is more than just a place to meet friends and future colleges; it is also am ideal opportunity to find a mentor.
A mentor is a person who is where you would like to be in five or ten years and is willing to help you achieve a similar level of success. It can be the most important relationship in your professional life and is extremely when developed before you embark on your career.
The most obvious choice for a mentor is your professor: after all, he or she knows enough about the subject you are studying to teach it professionally. Some professors have only worked in an academic environment, but many have also attained professional experience that may be in the field of work you are interested in. Usually, professors love to talk about their experiences and are willing to answer questions about their work. If you feel you have a good connection with a professor and would like to keep in touch after the course ends, ask if you can speak to him or her outside of class time to learn more about their career and what led them to this line of work. The professor will most likely be happy to share with your tips on what to study, where to look for jobs or even lead you to other connections that will further your career.
One of your fellow students may even have what it takes to create a mentoring relationship. While they may seem to be in the same place as you, often professionals need to go back to school to increase their credentials in order to make it to the next level. Try learning more about other students who seem to have more knowledge about the course subject or are a bit older than the other students. With a bit of research, you may find a classmate who is a suitable mentor and will likely be very flattered that you look up to them.
Once you have found someone who meets the requirements of a mentor, let them know what you are hoping to achieve professionally and that you admire the work they have done, or their knowledge about a subject. Show them your eagerness for success and ask if they have ever mentored someone before. They will likely want to help you out, or may be able to introduce you to someone similar who could be your mentor.
Having a mentor can be a great asset to your future. If you are lucky enough to find someone who is willing to help provide you with direction, be sure to nurture that relationship and let him or her know your appreciation on a regular basis. Most importantly, once you have reached the professional success you’re looking for, consider returning the favor to someone younger that is now looking up to you.