Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

Two people facing each other from the knee down
Cottonbro on Pexels
After a semester of bi-weekly meetings with my mentor, I have learned that you don’t need to be super outgoing, nor do you need to have crazy big goals. You just need to have an open mind and a desire to improve yourself.

Does the word mentor scare you a bit? Maybe you think you’re not advanced enough in your career to have a mentor, or perhaps you have no idea what the word Mentorship even means!

These are all thoughts I had before signing up for a mentorship program at my Co-op workplace. But after a semester of bi-weekly meetings with my mentor, I have learned that you don’t need to be super outgoing, nor do you need to have crazy big goals. You just need to have an open mind and a desire to improve yourself.

A mentor is a trusted individual who will help guide and motivate you in your own professional goals which may be related to your career, academic success or life goals. They are usually someone you can look up to who is more advanced in their career. They can enable you to put your best foot forward in order to take the next steps you need to achieve your goals.

So, let's see the four things you can accomplish and learn from working with a mentor.

You’re in Charge

What you bring to your mentorship meetings are totally up to you! This means you are in the drivers' seat when it comes to conversations and topics you want to discuss, whether it is a problem you are facing at work, going over your resume, or just asking questions about their career. By taking initiative, you are already taking the first step towards becoming your best self!

A Different Perspective

Mentors are usually people who can inspire you to do better. In the virtual world we are in right now, many of us, especially young professionals, tend to overthink a work situation or read too much in between the lines of an email. A mentor will help guide your thought patterns, and will often have an interesting way of reframing the ideas you may have placed in your head. 

Getting Rid of the Negative Narrative

Many young professionals will, at some point in their early career, feel like they have ‘imposter syndrome’: a pattern where someone internalizes and doubts their skills, talents and achievements. Through talking with my mentor, I was able to look inward and realize that instead of viewing it as a negative, I could flip the switch and think about the positive and new creative solutions that I could bring to the table as someone coming into a company with fresh eyes.  

The Art of Conversation

Networking is essentially building relationships, and having a good conversation with someone. I usually met with my mentor on a bi-weekly basis throughout my Co-op term, which really allowed me to get to know them both professionally and personally. During one of our chats, we played ‘We’re Not Really Strangers’: a card game where we both ask each other meaningful questions on the cards to get to know each other better. Another time, we listened to an episode of “The Michelle Obama Show”, featuring Michelle Obama and her mentees discussing their time at the White House. These activities were a fun and low-stakes way to spark conversation and share our experiences with each other.

Thinking about questions to ask and discuss with your mentor might be challenging in the beginning. Here are some of my favourite questions to ask:

  • What does the word “career” mean to you?

  • How do you overcome failure, and how do you learn from it?

  • What are the top 3 qualities to have when working in a team?

  • What questions can I ask myself in order to continuously improve?

  • What do you value most in life? What are your core values?

Before settling on someone, make sure to also ask yourself what you want to achieve with your mentor - do I want someone within my own career path or am I looking for someone totally different? These answers are solely dependent on what your needs are and it may take a few mentors to find the right one! 

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Bessie via LinkedIn.
visibility  152
Mar 19, 2021

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Working, Community Engagement, Volunteering, Professional Development, Life Experience

Cathy, author, smiling view of Ecuador
My Ecuadorian Escapade

"There are few experiences in one’s life that do not just provide you with new skills, but teach you a new way of perceiving the world around you." Cathy Greenway, a student of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, travelled to Ecuador with Ecuaexperience's Help, Learn, Discover program as a Rural Development Volunteer. Read more about her life-changing experience.

jessica before the co-op make over
The Co-op Career Makeover: A Student's Journey from Drab to High Profile

Is your career portfolio feeling a little outdated? Tune in to a local makeover phenomenon that's taking the job market by storm: SFU Co-op. Communication Major Jessica Doherty knows first hand what co-op can do for building confidence, contacts, and a killer resume. Read on to follow her on her journey from drab to high profile.

Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai (Bombay)
Sheena Takes On the Mumbai Marketing Scene

In her third year as a Communication major, Sheena Rupani returns home to Mumbai, India and proves that an SFU student has what it takes to compete on the international marketing scene. In a setting where high stakes rely on time management and clear cross-cultural communication, this international co-op celebrity takes self-directed study to the next level.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Canucks Team
An Intern's Perspective

Marla Liguori is a Communications co-op student at SFU, and for her first Co-op experience she was able to spend the 2010-2011 season with the Vancouver Canucks as a marketing intern. She shared with us what she’s learned and why she thinks the Co-op program is a stellar addition to any degree.

Canada Revenue Agency Headquarters
Working as a Taxpayer Services Agent at CRA

Are you considering or planning to work for the government? Read on to find out more about Doug's co-op experience at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a Taxpayer Services Agent and the surprises he encountered during his work term.

image of waterfront downtown vancouver
5 Ways to Avoid the Mid-Day Crash

"It's two hours past lunchtime, and you're starting to feel it - you slowly start to doze off." — Read 5 tips from Bessie that will help you to avoid the mid-day crush.