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I have signed up with Griffith University’s Industry Mentoring Program to be a mentor for an undergraduate student. The program is designed to match 200 students with appropriate mentors (just one each, don’t worry!) by providing each student with the profiles of available mentors. This is a blind process – the mentors’ names and personal details are not divulged at this stage. The students then select which mentor they would like to be matched with and the organisers make the match.

The program begins in the second half of their final year of their undergraduate degree and is designed to help them to better understand what they want to do career-wise and support them in their transition from university to the workplace.

I haven’t met my student yet but she has sent me an introductory email including her CV and she has let me know that she is currently reviewing for her exams and will be free to meet later this week.

In the meantime, the organisers have held a mentor briefing session to make sure that we all know what’s involved, what to expect and to share our experiences in previous mentor relationships. They have also held a mentee briefing session to prepare the students for this whole process.

I have been a mentor once before. I was quite young at the time and I’m not sure how helpful I was, except as simply a sounding board for an international student who needed some help navigating the scientific employment process in Australia. This time, I feel like I am well prepared as an experienced person in the scientific community.

The briefing session went well – I met other first-time mentors, some of whom have yet to have any contact with their students. It will be interesting to keep in touch with the others to see how things are progressing for them as well.

So why did I decide to become a mentor? They asked us this during the briefing session and I didn’t really know how to put it into words at the time, but I’ve thought about it quite a bit since then:

  • I love teaching
  • I love learning
  • I love helping others to learn
  • I’ve reached the point in my life where I’ve finally figured out what I’m good at and it turns out that I also love what I’m good at!
  • Being confident in my abilities now gives me the ability to help inspire this confidence in others.
  • I didn’t have this available to me when I started out and it could have been very helpful to give me some insight into what this type of job would entail.

I’m looking forward to meeting my student. She is studying her Bachelor degree, doing a double major in forensic science and criminology while working part time in retail. She seems intelligent and driven and I’m sure we will learn a lot from each other.

Have you been a mentor in a formal program before? How did it work out? What did you learn about yourself or take away from the experience? Or if you were a mentee, how was this experience for you? I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

x desleyjane

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Posted by:desleyjane

photographer, blogger, planner, scientist, dog lover, frequent flyer, daughter, sister, BFF, human

45 replies on “Starting the Mentoring Process

      1. ah well it wasn’t full time but I ran my own holistic/beauty business in multiple health clubs. Many of the girls that would come out of college were inadequately trained, so I would spend quite a bit of time training them before they would let loose on clients 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I took part in an online mentoring program once but the mentee I was assigned and I weren’t really a good match. She was planning to study chemistry and was a bit disappointed that she ended up with a physicist… No clue why I was chosen to work with her. So I think it is better if the students get to choose their mentor like in your program. I always enjoyed to supervise PhD or master students though and I think that in person meetings are very valuable.

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    1. Thanks for that. I agree, face to face is best for this process – thanks for the advice. It doesn’t sound like yours was matched very well! I think the GU one has been well organised, I will keep you posted 🙂

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  2. Good on you! That’s a great way of helping and passing on your experience. I have been a mentor before and learnt that I had to be patient! I remember that I enjoyed the experience and would do i again if asked. Good luck and have fun!

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  3. This is wonderful, Desley. I’m sure your student will have a lot to learn from you, as will you from her. The teaching/learning process is always reciprocal. I guess I was many times a mentor with pre-service teachers in my classrooms. Most of the experiences were wonderful but there were times when I wasn’t too sure about leaving my class in inexperienced hands. However, learning on the job is the best way in my opinion and it would be much more effective to have pre-service teachers have more time in classrooms with students than in classrooms as students.
    I had to chuckle though at the timing of your previous mentoring experience – when you were ‘much’ younger. I’d have to say that you do not yet know the meaning of the term! 🙂
    Best wishes to both of you. I look forward to hearing how it all goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, thanks Norah! It was probably about 12 years ago I’d say 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, I totally agree about it being a reciprocal process and I’m very excited to start. I hope to do regular updates as we go.

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  4. Wow! Amazing! I do believe that you’ll make an excellent mentor and it’s very generous of you to offer help in a field that you well! Good luck, hope you’ll be matched with a great student/friend 🙂

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  5. What an amazing sounding experience, DJ! I kinda wish I could have had my own mentor last year while I was freaking out about my own future. Sounds like a great program…best of luck! I’m Sure this young lady will be so happy to have you as a means of support. 🙂

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      1. I did get some really good advice from my mentors at the internship I did last summer, which I’m very thankful for. But I think it would have been nice to have some in my last year of college, too. I mean, I figured out a post graduation path for myself, but it probably would have been a lot less stressful with something like this mentorship program you’re participating in.

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    1. Thank you.
      What a great article. I particularly was interested in this part: With age you become the evaluator of your own performance, which, for a person with high standards, makes the finish line in each endeavour somewhat more difficult to find.
      Definitely food for thought!

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  6. And of course your will be a brilliant mentor.
    I have been mentoring MBA students for a while, and find it a great way to keep learning new things as well. It is a two-way process. And if students are from different countries it is even more interesting.
    All the best!

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  7. What an amazing opportunity to mentor a student! I know it’ll be a very special relationship both for you and your mentee! She sounds like a motivated student who will benefit from the knowledge and experience you’ll share…
    I’ve unfortunately never been a mentor nor have I had one officially, but I hope to have inspired someone in their career choice as much as those who have inspired me! Good luck and enjoy the mentoring!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you would make an amazing mentor! What a fantastic opportunity. While I wasn’t a mentor, I was a mentee and I have to say taking part of that program was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It was during my first year of uni when I was doing my BA and having a mentor really helped me to transition into life at uni as an international student and for me it was a very important support system. My mentor actually became one of my closest friends while I was studying and we’re still close to this day! So yes, mentors are pretty awesome! Good luck and I hope it’s a fulfilling journey 🙂

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    1. Oh in so glad to hear your mentoring story. That’s fantastic. What a great experience to have and it’s so wonderful that you’re still good friends. Thanks so much for sharing.

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