The Chemist: How to be a Good Mentor

Hey everyone! I hope you're off to a great start in 2019. We have some exciting things coming up in the next month so be on the lookout in your inboxes and on our social media. We cannot wait to show you what we've been working on.

January is the month of mentorship so this week we decided to talk about how to be good mentor. One of our main goals as #MacScientists is to give back to the girls coming up behind us and being mentors is one of the best ways to do that. Currently, I work with 2 undergrads in my research lab, and I graduated one last spring, and I absolutely love giving back. I'm also in a Mentoring Program through an organization at OSU called the Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus and that's how I met my mentee, Hannah, who now works with me in the lab.

Before I get into a few tips about how to mentor effectively, here's why I love doing it. Being a mentor means I get to impart the knowledge I've learned over the years to someone else, watch someone develop, and I get to play a vital role in that development. It's such a rewarding experience to have my mentees come to me with a budding question or concern and I'm able to answer it and guide them in the right direction. So if you're new to this "mentor" thing, here are my tips on how to be effective, from my experience:

1. Be Honest.

Do not sugar coat things to your mentees and have them thinking it was all rainbows and unicorns to get to where you are today. Knowing that there are struggles that come with the journey is helpful. They need to be prepared for their next steps and the only way they can be is if you're honest about yours. Now this is not to say you need to be brutal and complain about what you didn't like, but use your failures as teachable moments for them. They'll appreciate it.

2. Be Available.

A mentor has to be available to their mentee. I don't mean to be on call 24/7 for everything, but you do have to make time to check in. We get busy and since being a mentor isn't something that's in the job description or that we get paid to do it's easy to forget about. Do not do that. Make a schedule with your mentee of how often you should check in. Maybe you all have lunch every month or a phone call every 6 weeks, whatever works for both of your lifestyles do that.

3. Be Present.

My last piece of advice is to be present. It takes more than just a few lunches and some good advice. You need to actually be present for your mentees. Learn about their lives, what their goals are, who they are as people. Learning those things and building a solid relationship with them will only benefit your mentoring style. It's a great way to relate to them and they'll feel safe knowing that you actually care and that this isn't something you're doing just to brag about.

What's something that you do with your mentee? Tweet me some responses.

- The Chemist