When a college student thinks of a mentor, what would probably come in their mind is typically some elder knowledgeable person having some big degree hung before his name. But as we come down to the crux of this, a mentor can be anyone who is just willing to help a student improve himself towards a better future.
Mentoring in itself is not something that can be acquired by some formal education; it’s just a skill or an art that one learns if there prevails a passion to help, be patient and loving. Mentoring is helping someone come out of their comfort zone, make them believe that they can do much more, give them the courage to take risks and be both a guide and a role model to them.
Why do students need mentoring?
There are stages when it comes to mentoring a college student. Coming from the comfort of their homes, engulfed in the protective shell of their parents love, when a student enters this new world they are exposed to a lot of vulnerability. All the glamour around them and the sense of freedom where there is probably no one to question your deeds is where the college students usually lose track of their career and that’s where the need of a mentor arises, to gets a student back on the right path, being a guide, a support and most importantly a friend.
- To be a mentor the first stage required is to select the type of student you want to mentor. There are a group who believe they know everything, some who feel to be good for nothing and the third kind who always stay confused. Now it’s on the mentor to build the confidence in a student, help him develop a vision and get the blockages of his mind cleared to a specific goal and make him believe that he will support him in whatever he wants to be.
- The next stage comes in assessing your mentee, that’s analysing the strengths and weaknesses of theirs. There are ways of doing this. It can be through a verbal session, or through studying his writings or just a plain discussion. This is where a mentor needs to act as a shadow to the student. Identify his weakness and let him improve that in such a way that it doesn’t affect his confidence because it is difficult to understand the complicacies of a college student mind. Anything can affect him in a negative way pushing him to take some unforeseen actions. A mentor needs to be cautious about everything he explains to his mentee.
How a mentor-mentee partnership grows:
It’s essential to now motivate your student towards his goals. Help him develop on the fields he lacks, identify his expertise skills. Exposure needs to be given on different perspectives related to the degree that the student is pursuing. Inculcate in him the habit of clarifying all the doubts and keep his interest towards his studies alive. Keep him illuminated on the positives of whatever he is doing.
This leads to the most important stage of developing a bond of friendship. For being a guide to a college student you first need to be their friend. A comfort zone needs to be build around so that the student starts trusting his mentor so much that he feels free to talk his heart out, without which it’s actually not possible to be a true support. Make a student feel that you are there through thick and thin. Help them overcome their obstacles. Try to keep him from deviating from his path because a student is his honest self only with a friend.
The role of a mentor is not limited to just keeping a student focussed on his studies. This is a professional as well as a personal relationship where he needs to also guide him away from making some unsure decisions. As a student approaches the end of his graduation he stays confused on where to build his career and even at that point, a mentor helps him know where his real interest lies, thus helping him walk on the right path.
Mutual Benefits between mentor and mentee:
Being a mentor benefits both the mentor and the mentee. While it helps the mentor to enhance his interpersonal skills, it gives a student ways to mould his life in the right direction. There just needs to be a commitment between both the student and the mentor. There might be situations where a student might find it monotonous listening to the mentor and start losing his interest, in which case it is the smartness and zeal of the mentor to take the dullness out and remind him of his commitment.