Skip to main content
the author

Jeannie Chong

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Publishing

empty
a woman teaching on the whiteboard
Credit
unsplash.com

America's most famous literary icon, Mark Twain once said:

 "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” 

This inspiring quote reminds me of the word mentoring.

It seems that there’s a secret to the success of some of the most remarkable people in history: they all had amazing mentors.

For example, Bill Gates - one of the world's richest men - had a mentor in Warren Buffet. Yves Saint Laurent had a mentor in Christian Dior, and Plato had Socrates.

So, what is a mentor?

A mentor can act as an advisor, a friend, a teacher, or even a counsellor. They’re people in your life who you respect, learn from and aspire to be similar to. Although no one can make a career decision for you, mentors are there to listen, offer you their insight, and encourage you when you’re in doubt.

A good mentor shares their invaluable knowledge, skills and experience and helps you identify your passions and envision your ideal working environment when it comes to your career.

The best mentor would be the most experienced professional you admire. They are the perfect ones from whom you can learn.

Here are some useful tips on an effective mentoring relationship:

For mentors:

  • It is not coaching; it is mentoring. You can provide advice but the final decision is your mentee’s, not yours.

  • Listening is key. You don’t have to agree with everything shared by your mentee, but at least be willing to listen and let them know that you’re there to inspire them with confidence or another perspective.

  • Be empathic. Try to understand things from your mentee’s perspective.

  • Keep everything confidential. Never share your mentee’s stories with others without their permission. It is all about mutual-respect.

For mentees:

  • Never expect benefits to be spoon-fed to you by your mentor and for them to do the work for you. Be responsible for your own learning. You are the only one who can put in the time and effort necessary.

  • Be open to your mentor’s critical feedback, opinions, and perspectives so you can learn and improve.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask your mentor questions to get the most benefit from their past experience and gain invaluable knowledge from their expertise.

I currently have three mentors: my elementary school teacher (I can’t believe it’s been more than 10 years!), my church leader, and my supervisors at my current workplace – Career Services. They all have positively influenced my personal and professional development and opened doors to other great opportunities. I can’t imagine what I would have done without their support and guidance.

In return, I now mentor first-year students through the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology (FCAT). Through this opportunity, I can share my success and learning experiences to help others transition from high school to university.

If you don’t currently have a mentor, I highly recommend you seek one out. Here are some resources for you to visit:

Remember one golden rule of mentoring: you receive what you give. Having a mentor is not a one-way-street; being a mentor brings significant value as well. If you put the time, effort and energy into building and nurturing the mentor/mentee relationship, the reward will pay off!

Good luck!

About the Author

the author

Jeannie Chong

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Publishing
Jeannie Chong is a Special Projects Assistant with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year student studying communications and publishing. Jeannie also volunteers at a radio station, spends time doing crafts and Chinese calligraphy, and loves to indulge her sweet tooth.
Photo of the author giving a presentation
Creating Value: The Adventures of an IT Co-op Student

As someone who didn’t have a lot of direct experience in a technological setting, providing value to the organization had to come from something much bigger than my direct skill set.

A photo of the author
The 201st Application

It’s been two months and 20 days since my first day of my Co-op term at Westcoast Family Centres, but I still find myself waking up every other day in utter disbelief that things worked out!

You Might Like These... Professional Development, Personal Development, Career Exploration, Life Experience

Marble statue of Socrates
Know Thyself

So you have graduated from university and are hanging your well-earned degree on your bedroom wall, and all of  a sudden, a tiny, yet unavoidable voice in the back of your head is quietly screaming “No time to celebrate, you need to find a job!” or “I’ve got my degree…what do I do with it?!’.

Mike, author
Indigenous Stories: Mike, SFU Alumni

"I have no solid plans for the future and I love it...I know that every experience that I have had, every failed plan, was really an excellent mistake that gave me the skills I need to handle any situation that gets thrown my way in the future."  Read Mike's story of career exploration, and how to handle constant change.

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

You Might Like These... Personal Development

The masked woodcutter (MacKenzie) offends Tavey (Wakeland)
SFU Students Perform Free Summer Musical for Kids

Four SFU students organized and performed a free outdoor children’s theatre in the Lower Mainland. The performance tells a story of broken shoes and finding joy beyond grief

view of capetown, south africa
Home Sweet Home

As Kayla returns home from Botswana, there is much to reflect upon the differences between cultures and the way of living. Read what Kalya has to say and how International Co-op has brought her to an epiphany.

Point of view inside a train going through a tunnel
Future Careers

While current career options at present may not always look great, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future. New fields are being developed almost every month, and new opportunities in a range of disciplines seem to be popping up fairly frequently – so what does the future hold?