Finding a Peer Mentor

Have you ever wondered how you can seek out mentors on your college campus?

Having a peer mentor to talk to was quite helpful when I had to make tough decisions about school, work, and life, and just knowing that I had someone there to guide me and listen to me gave me that motivation to do well. Some of the advantages of  having peers be your mentor is that only they can understand what it means to be a social media obsessed millennial in an ever-changing world.Your peers are often facing the same struggles as you are, therefore they are able to better empathize with you.

During my freshman year of college, I was paired with a peer mentor through the Muslim Student Association, and I can truthfully say that this was one of the best things that happened to me. Some of my most valuable learning experiences occurred while engaging with my mentor because not only was she someone I could relate to, but she was a great listener, she was passionate about her major, and she did a great job guiding me through my first year in college.

After having such a wonderful experience with my peer mentor, I was inspired to create a mentoring program within the Business Scholars program. I proposed my idea to the Collegiate Association of Business Scholars (CABS), and now, each Business Scholar is paired with a mentor. Now that I am the New Scholars Coordinator for CABS,  I had the wonderful opportunity of  pairing the freshman scholars to the sophomore/junior/senior scholars. As a current mentor and mentee, I will share with you tips on how you can find the perfect peer mentor.

Know why you want a mentor: To begin your search for a mentor, it is very important to know why you want a mentor. Ask yourself: Why do I need a mentor? How will having a mentor benefit me? What are some things I want to learn from my mentor? After asking these questions, assess your readiness and determine what you need from a mentor. There are various reasons to why someone would seek a mentor, and some of my reasons included:

  • Navigating College
  • Exploring resources on campus
  • Academic Assistance
  • Career/Professional Development
  • Expanding my Network
  • Resolving Daily Challenges
  • Developing my goals
  • Learning new skills

 

Once you know your needs, make a list of the things you would like to accomplish, and then write down some of the characteristics your ideal mentor would have, that way you know exactly what you are looking for!

Get involved & take the initiative: Once you have your list of what you want in a mentor, you have everything you need to begin your search. t I found some of my greatest mentors by getting involved in extracurricular activities. It is very important to take the initiative to seek help from those who are doing something you would like to do. As the interactions with people in your student organizations, clubs, & extracurricular activities progress, they can develop into a mentor/mentee relationship. Sometimes, certain student organizations already have a mentoring program in place, so by joining the student organization, you will automatically be paired with a mentor.  

  • Ask yourself this: from the people you respect and trust, who do you think is wise? Have an answer in your head?--Great! Now go ask that person how they got to where they are today and perhaps any other questions you may have. Remember, mentors love to help, and they love answering your questions!

 

Set goals with your mentors & ask the right questions: As a mentee, It is a good idea to prioritize specific goals you would like to achieve during the mentorship process. Make sure to decide how you will keep in touch. As a mentee, it will be your duty to email your mentor once in a while with the questions you have. Don’t for get to set up a date to meet up when your mentor. Be sure to have a list of questions and things to talk about before your meeting!

  • I would often be prepared with a list of questions every time I saw my mentor, and some of the questions I asked her revolved around general topics; such as my major, study tips, scholarships, FAFSA, and even personal goals.

 

Maintain your relationship: Once you have a mentor, it is important to maintain your relationship with them. Determine the boundaries of your relationship and understand your roles. For example, a good mentee is someone who is organized, provocative, and follows up with the mentor, and a good mentor is someone who is positive, committed to the mentee, demonstrates strong communication skills, and is willing to share personal experiences.

Lastly, remember that peer mentorship is about creating a genuine ongoing relationship for mutual development between both the mentor and mentee. This means that in order to have a successful mentorship, you must be willing to give and take. Be sure to collaborate with your mentor, share your ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice!

I hope this post has been helpful. Good luck finding your mentor!