The Importance of Mentorship
by Hana Meroth
The dictionary defines a mentor as “an experienced and trusted adviser,” but I think mentors come in a multitude of different forms and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” definition. A mentor can be a peer that provides support as you go through a tough time, or it can be a family member that you’ve always looked up to or a professional who can provide you with insight and advice about their field of work. Pretty much anyone who you can learn from can be a mentor.
I feel pretty lucky to have had a lot of mentors in my life so far, for different aspects of my life. And from each of them, I’ve learned a lot about how everyone approaches life and situations differently. The thing I enjoy most about talking to mentors is hearing about their experiences first hand, and being able to relate their experiences back to my own life. Often times, I can find a lot of comfort in knowing that someone else has struggled through something very similar, and hearing how they got through it provides me with a lot of guidance and hope. I think it’s really important to have someone (or some people) in your life that you can turn to for advice and trust that they have your best interests at heart. Not every mentor that I’ve had has been incredibly insightful or been someone that I’ve felt comfortable enough to confide in. And that is totally ok. Being able to see what kind of mentor relationships don’t work for you is just as important as finding the ones that do. I think the more people that you can connect to, the better and some of them might fall through pretty quickly, but others can flourish into something bigger than you had ever thought would be possible.
Some of my best mentors have come out of the SWE mentorship programs. SWE has a couple of different mentorship programs that give students a great opportunity to be paired up with someone, either a peer or a working professional, and build these connections that can last a lifetime. These mentorship programs provide a super convenient platform for being paired up with someone who is just as enthusiastic as building a mentor/mentee relationship as you are. Especially now, living in a virtual world, making connections, and having meaningful conversations is more important than ever.