Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where Can I Get Some Advice Around Here?

Or: Free-Range Mentoring

Sometimes people ask, 'So where do I find mentoring?'

I have two answers:
1) Wherever you can.
2) Everywhere.

Maybe your school has a formal program set up, and they'll match you with some kind person who will give you good advice. Maybe there's a young professional or faculty member, or an old faculty member, who you think is sane; ask her if she'll have lunch with you next week. I think you can't count on any one person meeting even most of your professional needs. Find a variety of people who have what you need, and ask them all.

My Philosophy on Learning v.5.3 is this: If you need to know something, first look it up, and then if you need to, find someone who knows. Then ask. Will you teach me how to do this? What would you do in this situation? I'm thinking of X, do you have any other ideas to add? How did you make it through grad school? Does it get any better? Because most of the time, there's no framework set up. You have to do it yourself.

It's kind of a part of the whole academic-politics system: shyness gets you nowhere. If you don't have confidence, fake it. If you can't find the thing you need, make it.

Go out and find people. Grad school isn't set up to educate you. You have to do it yourself.

Other mentoring thoughts?