Let’s Talk About Mentorship
by Andrea Palomo
Mentorship has always played an important role in my life. I have had amazing role models who in one way or another have acted as my mentors; they have shaped the person I am today: my moral values and ethics, my involvement in SWE, academic research or just everyday things.
Mentorship is a two-way street, and you will get out of it as much as you put in! Here are some tips I want to share to make the most out of your mentorship experience :
- Be a positive role model, you never know if someone is inspired by your actions and wants to follow your footsteps. Whether that is your younger siblings, family members, friends or a complete stranger, always try to create a positive environment for people around you!
- Ask questions if you are curious about something. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to your mentors. They will always try their best to give you the best answer, and if they do not have an answer they will most likely direct you to someone who knows what you are looking for.
- Set expectations. Communicate with your mentor/mentee what you are hoping to get out of this experience. This will make things clear and allow you to receive/give the type of mentorship you are looking for.
- Your mentor/mentee doesn’t have to be your clone! Don’t feel sad if your mentor/mentee’s interests, career goals differ from yours at any point. Learn from their strengths and weaknesses and see this as an opportunity to discover new things and broaden your skill sets.
- Share what makes you unique. Share as much as you feel comfortable about your life, culture, hobbies, interests. This will make this relationship more genuine!
- Be open minded. You might feel like your mentor/mentee is not giving you the advice you want to hear, but sometimes it is necessary to be open minded and learn to take advice in a positive way. Remember to give constructive feedback and be empathetic when you are giving advice.
- Focus not only in successes, but also in struggles. When your mentor/mentee shares their successes, acknowledge them, and be genuinely happy for what they have accomplished. Also ask about the obstacles they had to face to get where they are, those are often excluded from the story, and are extremely important to learn from!
All in all, mentorship exists to benefit both the mentee and mentor, both parts involved learn important life lessons! Joining a mentorship program will open many doors whether that is advice, networking, or great role models to look up to! SWE has 3 mentorship programs, you are welcome to join any or all of them! Whether you are interested in peer mentorship, graduate school mentorship or industry mentorship, SWE has a space for you!
Here are some mentors/mentees that have made a positive impact on my life/time at Cal!