This blog is intended to help facilitate your successful exploration of and preparation for graduate school. It is an exciting exchange of tidbits, tips and tricks of the trade. It is a wellspring of guidance and ideas for you to consider and pursue!
During one of our first sessions together we talked about how we want to feel. Danielle LaPorte walks you further through the process in Fire Starter Session Three. Today I'd like to revisit those core desired feelings---I LOVE seeing the many fantastic words being used to describe feelings our group aspires to.
Here are several highlights:
So we ask ourselves---what do I need to do, have and experience in order to feel---X?
What do I need to do, have and experience to feel X---on a daily basis?
What do I need to do, have and experience to feel X---on a weekly basis?
What do I need to do, have and experience to feel X---on a monthly basis?
The goal is implement small actions in order to make our desired feelings a reality for ourselves as much as possible.
In the McNair experience, mentors are front and
central.They are an integral part of
the experience because they provide expertise, offer support and encouragement,
and many times, open doors of opportunity that might seem impossible
today.It’s not to say that the mentor
relationship can “make or break you” – but having a good one can make all the
A good mentor will:
Teach you how to do research in your field
Expand your knowledge of the field
Teach you how to ask questions – good questions!
Model what it’s like to be a professional in the field
Lend their expertise, wisdom and insights
Share their experiences and relate them to your own
Challenge and support you at the same time
Give you constructive feedback and encourage you to do more
Connect you with colleagues and other professionals to help
Help you figure out your path
Help you make good choices about your education and work
Call you out when you’re not holding up “your end of the
So, how do you set out to have the best possible mentor
relationship?Well, you try your hardest
to be true to yourself, you put forward your energy and enthusiasm, you be
respectful and then you let go.No one
has the power to control others.All you
can do is put yourself out there in an honest way and hope that your mentor
will be a good fit for you.And if it’s
not?You move along and find yourself
the next mentor who WILL be a great fit for you!
Holding up your end of the deal:
Connect with your mentor regularly and in person
Come prepared with a list of 2-3 major items you would like
Come prepared with your “homework” or “to do list” completed
from your last mentor meeting
Be honest with your mentor if you are not quite
understanding a research task or how it fits within the bigger picture of your
It’s useful to step back and review the “big picture” from
time to time to make sure it’s fresh in your mind
BE ON TIME ALL THE TIME!
Focus on your work together and not personal problems and
issues---it’s good to get your know mentor on a personal level (this tends to
happen naturally, over a period of time)---but keep the focus of your
conversations on your research
If something isn’t working for you or you can’t make a
scheduled meeting, just be honest and get in touch with your mentor well
beforehand to discuss
Make sure you know how your mentor likes to be contacted---mostly
through email, have they offered you their cell phone number, do they
text?In general, you should only
call/text (if that’s okay with them) during “normal business hours” and not
super early in the morning or super late at night!You can always send an email.
Go above and beyond.Let your mentor see your passion by not just doing exactly what they
say---take their guidance as a starting point and then run with it---this is
truly the basis of a burgeoning researcher at heart!
Most important: have fun, work hard and enjoy the process…