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Undergraduate Premed Mentorship: The Search

“A mentoring relationship can be a dynamic and insightful experience for college students who, in this stage of life, are laying the groundwork to identify and pursue their purpose,” said Marie Carasco.

Mentorship Importance

Throughout life, everyone needs guidance, and a mentor is crucial during specific periods of a person’s life. The relationship a person gains when having a mentor has the ability to better one’s college experience and career, generally helping with engagement in work. Mentors often provide a boost that a student needs to thrive during college, as well as after. Unfortunately, students often don’t make the effort to find a college mentor since they don’t realize the importance of the connections that could be made during college. Faculty mentors often have access to experiences that students are not aware of, yet with a mentor, a student can be given direction and assistance with overall aptitude.

The guidance can aid premed students on their medical career journey along with the pre-medical process, medical process, residency, and even life as an attendee. Additionally, a mentor can serve as a support system with a wealth of knowledge and experience already gained. In this way, mentors can be better suited for introducing different specialties than others and can provide opportunities by serving as networkers. They have a wealth of experience and can provide wisdom from their time in the field, depending on their career and time spent in school that an undergraduate pre-medical student may not have gained yet. Therefore, mentorship is significant for introductions to different specialties and opportunities, such as research, volunteering, and jobs. For example, if your mentor is transitioning to medical school or residency, then their recommendation can be especially useful.

Where do you find Mentors?

Suppose an individual is searching for a mentor. Most students should have an easier time locating an effective mentor during their college years. In class, lectures, a conference, webinars, and internet engines like Google can be helpful in finding a physician that is in the field one is interested in. A request for a phone call or online meeting with a potential mentor should be scheduled. Before the meeting, the mentee or person looking to be mentored should have a clear idea of what they want to accomplish through the relationship. After, the student can ask whether that mentor would be able to provide support in those areas. Students should look for a mentor they are comfortable with. The relationship dynamic is far more important than the association that the mentor has within a field. Obtaining a mentor who is interested in a similar specialty can show what life will be like when in the field, serve as a role model, and be the person that the mentee may want to emulate while transitioning into a physician.

How do you ask for Mentorship?

In an email, an individual should ask for an hour with a potential mentor to meet, along with providing a cover letter and disclosing the guidance the mentee is seeking and for what purpose. The meeting allows the mentor the time to ask questions about the goals of the mentorship. After sending an email, follow up, but do not hound the potential mentor, instead, check in with them after two to three weeks after making initial contact. The majority of people that are asked to become mentors are already ingrained into their careers which means their often busy. If after following up three times and not receiving an answer, then assume that person may not be eligible as a mentor. For this reason, it’s important to look for various mentors at a time, especially those close in their medical journey whose advice will be more relevant. Despite not all potential mentors being available, it is beneficial to maintain a relationship by sending notes or articles of interest to potential mentors once every six months just to check-in.

Thanks for reading!

- Evonna Chisom


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