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Finding a Faculty or Staff Mentor

Step 1--Pay attention: Next time you’re in class take note when in class does a particular professor’s words really resonate with you? Do you find yourself thinking “wow I wish I had a career like that professor/ faculty member?” These are great professors/ faculty members to consider for a potential mentor.

Step 2—Do your research: Whether or not step one helped you find a potential mentor step two will help you. Go to the UNH website and research professors or staff in your field of study or a field of study that interest you. See what they are studying and what their background is, a lot of time the UNH site will provide you with a bio on faculty members and this is a great place to start your search.  Narrow yourself down to 3 potential mentors. Next try a simple google search and see what you can find on you potential mentors, and if you are feeling really ambitious use the UNH library research database to look for articles written by you potential mentors, and read them to see if you are interested (Believe it or not most of you professors are published).

Step 3—Contact you top choice mentor and make an appointment to talk to them: When you contact them tell them you would like some career advisor or guidance. (unless you are sure don’t mention them being your mentor yet just ask them for guidance)  

Step 4--The Meeting: I know this can be a little scary but don’t be shy, I find that 9 in 10 people like giving advice. (Think about it doesn’t it make you feel good about yourself when someone asks you a question and listens intently to your answer?) So ask any questions you have. If you are not sure what to ask you can always start by stating your goals or potential interests and asking them what class they think you should take. Also if you did a lot of research on them try to discuss some topics you are both mutual interested in, if you liked an article they have written or have questions about it tell them. I bet they will find it very flattering to know you have actually seen their work.

Step 5 – Ask them to mentor you: If you two are really getting along well you can ask them if they would like to mentor at the end of the meeting. If you are like me and like to mull over the details and think about your decisions for a while before making them,  you can take some time to think about it, and send them an email at a later date, reminding them of your previous discussion and giving them a brief explanation of why you would like them to mentor you. (If they say no or you decide you do not want this individual to be your mentor, return to step 3 with you number 2 choice in mentor)

Mentor relationship

Once you acquire a mentor your real work begins. It is unlikely that your mentor will baby you and try to force you to come into meetings and who would want them to? You’re an adult and it is you job to schedule meetings with your mentor, so make sure you do so at least once a semester. When you are talking to you mentor bring up new goals and interests and ask them what you should do to meet you latest goal and then listen to what they say and follow through or if not reconsider your goals. For example if your mentor says you need to take on more leadership positions then you should do so and if you hate leadership positions but they insist it is necessary for the career path you are on maybe you should take a look at the career you are choosing, if you need to be a leader for that career maybe it is not for you or maybe you need to at least explore leadership to know for sure. Keep up you mentor relationship over the years just because you graduate or take on additional mentor doesn’t mean you have to end your relationship with you mentor as long as relationship is helpful follow through with it, and eventually your mentor may even become your peer and friend!