Author: Jabeen Shamji
We highlight the ANA peer mentorship program by the Student Committee and the ANA Mentoring program by the Education Committee. These two programs provide trainee members the opportunity both to receive mentorship from peers at or above their current stage of training, as well as gain experience mentoring more junior colleagues. Mentors and mentees are matched based on career stage and interests helping to facilitate a one-on-one partnership between mentors and mentees. Additionally, the ANA Peer Mentoring program also provides trainees with group webinars on issues relevant to trainee development including internship and post-doc preparation and professional development, as well as access to a resource drive on important topics in neuropsychology such as neuroanatomy, research and writing, and applying for graduate school, internship, and fellowship.
Why you should seek mentorship? Here are some possible reasons
- For setting SMART goals
- Changing academic paths
- For developing a career path that is tailored to your unique passion, strengths, and interests
- Advice on handling conflicts
- Work-life balance
- Academic problem solving
- Academic resources
- Professional Development and leadership skills
- Networking opportunities
- Support through shared lived experiences
- Facilitate decision making when faced with difficult paths and educational choices
- Facilitate during transitioning roles and responsibilities
Suggestions for Mentee
- Before your initial meeting, outline your long-term goals. Mentors will not tell you what to do, but they can share their expertise about how to get them.
- Identify your goals for a mentorship relationship. Goals can be short-term (Reviewing CV, cover letters, essays, assessment reports, etc.) or long-term (career advice, work-life balance, professional development).
- Do your homework by outlining all the areas you think mentorship can help. Even if you are not sure, ask anyway. Your mentor may have some resources or connections to guide you.
- If possible, look into your mentor’s area of expertise and identify how you can benefit from their experience.
- Mentorship conversations are not Q & A sessions, but writing questions and concerns can keep the discussion going smoothly. Be prepared to discuss 1-2 (or more) goals you would like to accomplish during each meeting.
- Entering the mentorship relationship with some preparation maximizes your time and helps establish the expectations regarding your commitment.
- Mentors have different interaction styles. Some prefer a conversational interpersonal style, while others are task/goal-oriented. Don’t feel intimidated if their style does not match yours. Mentors volunteer their time and expertise out of their busy schedules. They want to learn about you and assist you to help you meet your goals.
- Not every mentor will check all the boxes that fit your need or interest, but you can use their connections to meet new mentors/peers.
- It is entirely acceptable to have multiple mentors for each area of your academic/career journey. For example, you can have separate mentors for research, clinical expertise, professional development and leadership, a confidante, or an objective voice in different phases of academic and career ventures. Or, you can have vertical mentorship experiences as follows:
Undergraduate -> early graduate students->advance students -> Students on internship->fellowship->early career
Exiting mentorship relationship
- Termination of a mentorship relationship can happen for several reasons. Some of them include transitioning in situations where you no longer need help (e.g., you successfully secured an internship of your choice and no longer need help vetting your application material), time commitment issues, conflict of interest, etc.
- Regardless of the circumstances, maintaining professional decorum is expected as mentors later become your connections, colleagues, or experts in your career line. Also, it is a small world, and most likely, you may encounter them at networking events or conferences.
- Although it is ideal to discuss at the beginning of mentorship the purpose and duration for which mentorship is needed (e.g., for graduate admission or internship application, etc.), our goals and needs change over time.
- Regardless of the circumstances, be courteous and respectful when exiting the mentorship relationship. Students usually struggle to communicate when they no longer need mentorship. Instead of feeling uncomfortable or nervous about the situation (or not responding to your mentor’s emails), detail how mentorship facilitated your progress or identified goal(s). Then, briefly express that either you transitioned to a different stage or your mentorship needs have changed.
- Respect your mentor’s time by being honest about your needs, and don’t drag commitment unnecessarily.
For further information on our peer mentorship program, email anastudentcommittee.gmail.com
or visit ANA Mentoring program for the mentorship program.