January is National Mentor Month

2017 has just arrived and with it comes the excitement and motivation to start the new year off right.

While most of us will start the new year with resolutions to eat healthier and to hit the gym three times a week, the Faculty of Graduate Studies is encouraging students to work towards a new goal this year – finding and/or celebrating their mentors.

Mentors are an important part of personal and professional development at every stage of life and with January being National Mentor Month, the Faculty of Graduate Studies wanted to recognize both mentors and mentees and the dedication that goes into these relationships.

Mentors may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but she or he must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with a certain depth of experience and someone who wants to learn. Mentorship experience and relationship structure affect the amount of support, career guidance, role modeling, and communication that occurs in the relationship in which the students and their mentors are engaged. Essentially, so much comes down to an ‘oral tradition’ that mentors and mentees must recognize the central role of free and open communication in the relationship. Find someone you can talk to and who wants to listen. Not all relationships are meant to be, so both parties need to choose carefully and wisely.

Graduate students who have a mentor right from the start are less likely to feel ambushed by bumps in the road and are often more successful in their research activity, conference presentations, publication and grant-writing.

If you haven’t found your mentor yet, don’t worry! Start attending faculty events and reach out to professors you admire and would be interested in learning from and with  –  yes, mentors often learn as much as their truly inquisitive and insightful students! Remember, like every relationship, this goes two-ways, so find someone you want to work with and who wants to work with you. The best such working relationships are when both parties recognize that this is an interaction of colleagues  –  one more senior and experienced, and the other just starting on their career path. Great mentors want to train the great colleagues who will be ‘down the hall from them’ in 5-10 years.

If you have found your mentor and you want to acknowledge the impact they have made in your life be sure to nominate them for the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Mentorship Award. This award honours and recognizes the essential role of faculty supervisors in the mentorship of graduate students.

Awards are presented in two categories:

  • Mentorship of master’s students only
  • Mentorship of both master’s and PhD students

Nominations for this award close March 10.

For more information, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.



Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success
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