Think of your best mentor(s). What did they do right?
Be as specific as you feel comfortable being.
1. One of my first mentors had a huge lab (like, over 40 people). He made *everybody* learn each others' names. We had to submit our names and photos for online flashcards. There was a lab meeting where we literally spent most of the time going around and naming everybody in the room.
"If you continue in science, there's a good chance you'll interact with one of these people again. And when you do, you'll want them to know your name."
2. In the same lab, there were additional smaller groups, each headed by a grad student. Mine dedicated our first meeting to listing out our norms: expectations for how we'd behave when we were in a group. These could be serious ("Only one person speaks at a time") or silly ("We start all meetings by doing the wave"). But this really helped us feel comfortable expressing our ideas going forward, and got us thinking hard about implicit norms that exist in other groups (social psych lab, natch).
3. Current advisor has a dedicated yearly meeting with each of his advisees, where he addresses each of our long-term professional goals, and helps us set an agenda to reach those goals (even if his advice ends up being "reach out to my friend ____, who's working in the industry that you're interested in and can probably tell you more about what it's like and how to get there")
By the way, this was Philip Atiba Goff, who's now doing important work for policing equity and teaching at John Jay: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillip_Atiba_Goff
@nimirea My best mentor taught me to be OK with having a lesson plan or assignment fail. That failure helps you as an instructor as much as success. When I was a younger teacher, this news was absolutely liberating since I was paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong.
@nimirea My first big mentor made me feel like a peer. That was huge for me, and made me approach my discipline in a totally different way. Sometimes we fail individually, but if you get a sense that you are collectively striving towards some ideal, you can also see how things can be worthwhile.
It also taught me that you have to be intellectually generous and admit your limits.
@nimirea My undergrad mentor was so clear and focused on empowering her students. She supported me in my fights with administration. She told me that burning bridges isn't a bad thing, and that cutting toxicity out is good and you should do it. She also supported me running a clinic during occupy and going to school full time teaching me that you don't have to put any part of your life or yourself on pause
@nimirea ones that pushed me to try and apply for things that i thought were way above my class. even the rejections were good practice.
ones who encouraged me to prioritize work that would contribute to my own goals over turning down opportunities in favor of continuing to do their grunt work for them.
@nimirea i think being supportive without letting me indulge my procrastination or attempts to do do too much.
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