My perspective on finding an advisor may be slightly different than the rest of the Emissaries since I’m in a Master’s degree program. I did not select my advisor, however, she was pre-assigned to help guide me on the right track during my time at IU. Although my advisor selection process is different, I was still able to find the right mentor.
My field really stresses having a mentor during your time in student affairs. Before entering the HESA program, I did not have a mentor. It wasn’t until last year when I started to develop relationships with other faculty and staff through my job, school, and other activities. I think the best way to find a mentor is to use your resources and network. Networking is a great opportunity to meet other professionals in your field. I approached my mentor one day and asked if we could get coffee. Sometimes your mentors choose you, but in my case, I choose mine. There are people everywhere who are willing to help you out, but finding the right mentor can be challenging. There are a few different attributes I look for in a mentor.
First, I looked for a connection. Without being comfortable with your mentor, there is no way honest communication can exist for you to be able to ask the awkward, uncomfortable questions. Second, I looked for someone who had my best professional interests in mind and could provide sound career advice. I found it extremely helpful to bounce off different ideas about career possibilities and how to get where I want to be from my mentor. Lastly, I looked for someone who had enough professional experience in the field to be able to give me the right advice.
My mentor and I get together about once a month. We have developed a strong relationship over the last year and without her, I navigating my field would be much more difficult and confusing. Mentors are helpful in any area that you want to pursue, so if you have any additional questions about finding a mentor, please do not hesitate to contact me!