What is a Mentor? How do you find one? Why should I try and find one? These are all questions I am sure have circulated RD2BEs' minds, and we got you covered!
For more information about the topics covered in this post, feel free to register for our FREE Crash Course On-Demand for an in-depth module on Mentorship.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor has no strict definition or list of attributes that qualify someone as a mentor. However, a mentor should be someone who serves as a source of encouragement, support, and opportunities.
Mentors can come in many forms. They can be your professors, advisors, employers, volunteer supervisors, peers, etc. What defines your mentor as your mentor is entirely up to you, your experiences, and who you interact with.
Your relationship with your mentor can take many forms and can be professional or casual. A common misconception is that your mentor has to be someone directly in the professional niche you are pursuing. If you do have a mentor that fits that description, fantastic! If you don't, please know that the world of potential mentors is endless and unique, making it such an important tool as an RD2BE no matter where you are in your journey.
Why should I try and find a Mentor?
So many reasons! As we mentioned, they provide a unique form of encouragement, support, and opportunities. They can help provide insight into things you could have never thought of or they could share experiences that you can learn from and apply to your own journey. Mentors can be the link to your next job or dietetic internship. The possibilities are endless!
**fun fact: our most recent podcast guest, Jean Ragalie-Carr, President of the National Dairy Council, received her position as Director of the American Heart Association through her dietetic internship preceptor! Check out our episode with her to learn about leadership, networking, and putting yourself out there!
Another great thing about having a mentor is it offers a unique space for you to give back and assist that mentor. This can take many forms (hint: we cover this in our Crash Course module) but all can help you feel fulfilled and motivated as a student.
How do you find a Mentor?
Finding a mentor can come from pre-established relationships or ones where you completely throw yourself out there! We have an article covering cold-calling and how to use it to your advantage as an RD2BE. The opportunity for mentorship is one of the benefits and endless possibilities.
Sometimes, simply reflect on your current relationships and identify if any of them exhibit mentorship-like qualities. Some questions you can ask yourself to decide this are:
How has this person helped/impacted me (personal vs. professional)?
How have I assisted this person?
How often do I connect with this person?
What can I do with this current relationship to make it a mentorship opportunity?
These are just a few questions to get the gears turning, but more often than not the answer can be in front of you or just one interaction away!
NEW CRASH COURSE MODULE: MENTORSHIP
Want more information on mentorship, setting expectations, resources, and more? Register FREE for our Crash Course On-Demand that offers even more info and topics! It is hot off the press and we plan on releasing a plethora of more topics involving networking, imposter syndrome, getting involved, and more!