What you should know about mentoringOctober 28, 2013
Many students do so much better when they have someone to guide them. In fact several studies have proved that medical students who have been mentored tend to be more stable and perform better during the initial years of medical school. Things do even out after the first couple of years but having a mentor can make your first year or two less overwhelming.
A mentor is an experienced person who can act as a guide and provide you with some guidance and advice you on how you can do things better while you prepare to apply for a medical school interview or even how you deal with medical school. This could be an older individual or someone who has experience in the medical field and will act as a sounding-board for you. He or she can help you re-examine your ideas and guide you in how you can improve yourself and perform better.
How Do You Benefit From Having A Mentor?
Several ways. Having access to a good mentor will:
- Give you a chance to understand how the medical field works
- Allow you to gain some long term as well as short-term career guidance
- Give you the opportunity to interact with people who have some medical knowledge
- Provide you with exposure to people who will inspire and motivate you
- Help you get involved in research projects that are mutually beneficial
- Introduce you to different clinical networking and academic opportunities
- Help you develop a long-term confidant or a partnership
In order to reap the benefits of a mentorship, you have to ensure that the person who will be your mentor has the stature and the capacity to guide and inspire you. Finding the right mentor is an important part of this entire process.
For this, you will have to take the initiative and zero-in on a person who matches your interests and personality traits. You will rarely find an experienced person coming up to you and offering to be a mentor. If you have still not joined medical school you might find a doctor or someone who is related to the medical/ clinical field, a suitable mentor. Once you move into college, it will be a little easier for you to find a senior in college who will be able to guide you.
Qualities Of A Good Mentor
You will have to be persistent and persevering with your search for a mentor. It must be a person who has a certain amount of enthusiasm to coach you and mentor you with patience and true interest. Your mentor should be:
- Accessible and approachable
- Encouraging and proactive
- Willing to promote you and the work you do
- Knowledgeable in his/her field
Every Mentor Is Different
Though it is not always possible to find a mentor who has every one of these qualities, they should have most of them in good measure. Another thing that you must keep in mind is that every person has a different style of mentoring. A person who is actively interested in your career and keenly interested in how you perform will be the best mentor for you. The person should be able to recognize your potential as well as your shortcomings and help you to hone the former and overcome the latter.
Your mentor should also be able to help you make career-path decisions and you might want to take his/her help figuring out which specialty you should be opting for later in medical school. The person should also be able to counsel you, coach and guide you and support you through rough patches. The best mentor is one who will also share his/her own experiences with you, when the situation demands it. A mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street and you will have to work as hard at maintaining it, as your mentor will.