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Nov 18, 2016 09:29 AM EST

How a Mentor Can Help You Through College: Ways To Know That You’ve Found One

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We all need advice from time to time and some people are more than willing to share their wisdom. However, why take advice just from anyone? Why not find mentors that will help you grow from college, help shape your professional career and influence while enriching your personal life as well?

A mentor is more than your college professor or thesis adviser and they are also better than a coach. They care more than just your academic or athletic performance. They care more than how your work with your teammates.

Mentors are special and they are rare. They care enough to share their wisdom to guide their mentee from one project to another and from one aspect of life to another. They will share their knowledge holistically and at times, even when unsolicited and without reservations.

A mentor's advice often has more weight than the game plan or the commendation a student can get from his professor, and sometimes, a mentor's advice can guide you for life.

Marketers have mentors, business persons have mentors, politicians and leaders all have mentors, we all need mentors and the earlier you find one, the earlier you can benefit from their what they have to offer.

Here are 7 signs that will tell if you've already found a mentor:

1. You have a problem-solving partner

No, they will not solve your college algebra or calculus equations and formulas for you but they can inspire you to find the solutions for yourself by asking question that will help you think. Mentors are thinkers, they can help you solve problems by provoking your thoughts and breaking down what are seemingly complicated problems into simple and manageable set of steps.

2. They give directions, you find the way

As great thinkers, mentors can help a student draw up a "map" of the next steps after college and even later in one's career. They can also help identify advantages and consequences of each possible direction, they will help you consider all the possibilities but leave the decision in your hands. Whatever you think you need to do at the end of the day is up to you.

3. They push and challenge you

Great mentors see your potential better than you can. They have confidence in a student's ability to pass the test or complete the course which is why they go at great lengths to motivate and challenge him. This same confidence allows them to urge you to set your goals higher than what you originally thought. They already know you have the potential, you just need to be pushed and made accountable for your own success.

4. Mentors don't sugar coat

A true mentor will tell his mentee all he needs to hear without leaving out flaws or sugar coating the facts. Students are meant to learn and a mentor is meant to teach. A great mentor knows that while the truth can be painful s also the surest way to growth. Knowing the truth will help students become more aware of their limiting beliefs or self-defeating habits.

5. Mentors inspire you to act

Great mentors often model the way. They can inspire people into action with their words and their example and this is important if a mentee is to achieve success. The mentor shows that things can be done despite challenges A mentor ignites the fire and encourages others to take that first step.

6. You don't always have to take their side

Mentors can provide the counterpoint or the voice of reason when students have a different take on things. This can help college students see from a different perspective but sometimes, most of us just couldn't take a well-intended advice and we end up doing the opposite. It may or may not work out but a great mentor knows that experience is the better teacher.

7. Whether you know him well or not, a mentor is a mentor

Sometimes, simple words from total strangers can have more impact that we first thought. We may hear the advice from another person or see it on a video or read it from a book and the words will still have some effect on us and that's how mentors work.

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