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Aug 28, 2019 01:48 PM EDT

Five Reasons Why You Need a Mentor While Attending College

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College is one of the most stressful times in your life. You've already got plenty on your plate between attending classes, studying for tests, and writing papers. You have even less time if you're volunteering or you have a job in addition to attending classes.

Having a mentor can sound like just one more thing to put on your to-do list.

Mentorships aren't something that every college automatically offers its student. However, the ones that do offer mentorships as part of the program understand just how important it is. For example, Sierra Nevada College offers, "Mentorship-based experiential learning that develops entrepreneurial leaders."

Whether your college offers mentors to all students or you have to seek out your own mentor, having one will transform your college experience, and it will transform your experiences after college in a number of ways.

Advice

Asking for advice isn't easy. Listening to advice isn't easy either. Most people don't ask for advice for these two reasons, and as a student, you're even less likely to ask for advice.

When you have a mentor, you don't have to worry about asking for advice-it is built into the relationship! As your mentor gets to know you, your abilities, and your shortcomings, they can cater advice to you and your situation. Mentors can help you choose majors, they can help you decide what point of view to take on that next paper, and they can provide you with invaluable advice in the field you are pursuing. 

Encouragement

Attending college is a bigger challenge today than it has ever been before. There's more competition than ever before to get into college, prices for attending are sky-high, and the need for success is more important than ever in an economy where wages have been stagnant for decades.

There will be days you wake up and wonder if all the stress is worth it, and you'll struggle to keep going. Your mentor can pick you back up and encourage you to keep going.

Having a mentor makes you accountable too. If you told your mentor you were going to fill out that application or apply for that internship, you're much more likely to go through with it even if you start to have second thoughts.

Experience

Although your education is important, nothing will prepare you more than gaining work experience. However, that's not something you will probably be able to do while you're actually in college! That's where a mentor comes in.

Your mentor has experience when you don't. Good mentors have years, if not decades, of experience that you can use to your advantage. They can tell you things about your area of study that you may not have considered, they can point you in the right direction based on their own experiences, and they can help you avoid beginner mistakes.

Connections

Connections are important, no matter what industry you will be entering after college. One survey found that a whopping 85-percent of jobs were filled via networking. That means, if you're submitting resumes blindly, you almost certainly aren't going to get hired. You need to know someone.

Other benefits of having connections include:

  • Getting advice from others in the same industry

  • Having a positive influence with others in your industry

  • Increased confidence in your abilities

  • More opportunities inside and outside your industry

Building these connections can take time, but not if you have a mentor. They have spent years cultivating their network, and as their mentee, they can plug you into all of their resources. It isn't uncommon for a mentor to help their mentee land their first job.

Personal and Professional Growth

You will undoubtedly grow in college. A mentor can make sure you grow in the right direction, both professionally and personally.

They can observe you as you accomplish goals, providing you with insight as an outsider as to your process and what you can do to make it better. They can help you prepare for your industry by helping you set the right goals, and they can make suggestions for things you can do to step outside your comfort zone, all the while supporting you throughout the process so you never feel alone.

Don't skip the mentor when you head off to college just because you know it will take more of your time and attention. Putting in the effort now will pay off greatly later in increased opportunities that you could never have imagined.

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