by Mary Beth Maslowski
Getting a mentor in graduate school is a great way to get ahead. Research shows that students who are mentored have many benefits, including greater career success, better training, and a stronger professional identity.
Who you choose can dramatically impact your experience not only in grad school, but also in your hunt for employment. So, how do students new to a department find faculty members who will be good mentors? And, what makes a good mentor in the first place?
Start by looking at the professors you have classes with or people you work with in the fashion industry. Which faculty members make you feel comfortable? Is the person you’re considering very warm and open and hands-on in the classroom or at the job? Do you admire their work in the fashion industry?
When searching for a mentor don’t be afraid to ask for an appointment to meet with them to discuss the possibility of he or she being your mentor. Even if they’re not able to serve as a mentor, in that one sit-down get-together you can still probably learn from the experiences they’ve had.
When you have your mentor in place, there are some things you should do.
- Clearly communicate what you desire from the relationship.
- Set specific goals and expectations for the relationship.
- Be proactive. It’s your responsibility to maintain contact and schedule future meetings.
- Be aware of your mentor’s feelings and time, and appreciate his or her help.
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