Blog #457 Reasons to go for a graduate degree #1

Coaching for Life Success:  Graduate School

Ah yes!!!  You finished college; you finished 12 years of K-12 education (actually 13 years with kindergarten); you are ready to face the world – or are you?

Let’s look at this article for the 20 reasons to go to graduate school  (all sections copied from the link). The article has 20 reasons to go to graduate school.  Today, we will look at reasons 1 to 5.

Reasons to go to graduate school (reasons 1 to 5)

“1.  Greater earning power. This is a popular reason why people go to grad school. However, it should not be the only reason, since getting a grad degree is a very serious commitment.

2.  Advance your career. A grad degree can open up a wider array of career opportunities: in psychology, social work, healthcare, for example

3.  Career change. Many people are finding their current careers unrewarding. An advanced degree can help transition to another career—whether out of desire or necessity.

4.  Enhance your education. Graduate schools can provide opportunities to explore theories you may have about a topic.

5.  Get community recognition. If you explore your theories and discover something new, you will get recognition for it.

Comments on 1 to 5:

  1. Greater Earning Power:  For example, if you are a teacher (K-12), most school districts have tracks for bachelor’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees plus 15 credits; master’s degrees, plus the number of years of experience. Getting a masters may jump you on the pay scale by 10%.  Other businesses may pay you for getting your master’s degree.

  2.  Advance your career.  For me, getting my masters (and eventually) totally changed my career (and my life).  I was a high school teacher. Getting my masters first put me higher on the pay scale. Plus getting a masters allowed me to be a college instructor.  (And, getting a doctorate allowed me to be an assistant professor, associate professor and eventually a (full) professor.

    3.  Career Change:  Having a graduate degree shows initiative and desire to get ahead.  For me, to have a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) means that my official title is “Dr. White”.  While there are more people with a doctorate now than ever before, it is still a very special distinction.  

  3.  Enhance your education:  In a graduate program you will go deeper in your academic field – maybe not quite “mastery” – but becoming more knowledgeable.  For some masters degrees you may write a thesis – a major research paper, and for some doctorate degrees, you will write a dissertation on a new topic.

  4.  Community recognition:  Certain programs get you more recognition.  If you are in business and have an MBA you are recognized as being (hopefully) more competent.  As mentioned before, with a Ph.D. I am called “Dr. White” (although I rarely use that title, it is an important title).  

Tomorrow (and next three days, more reasons for a graduate degree.


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Blog Post #456 Senior Year

Coaching for Life Success:  Senior Year

Senior Year:  Keep your focus!!!  End strong.

You have been goal setting, keeping your attitude positive, networking, imaging your success for four years.  Let’s put some other obstacles in your way.

I know many people in the forties (give or take) that hate their job and their lives.  Maybe they are stuck in a job that goes nowhere, but with a family, a mortgage, car payments, braces, glasses, health issues, they think they can’t switch jobs and start over.  These people are also facing other issues – like having been out of college for several years, they have lost some of their technical skills. They have failed to ‘sharpen the sword’ and feel like they have a mountain to overcome to get back into the field.  Or, it might be a female who has taken time off to raise and nurture a family. (and … a comment, if you ‘hate’ your job – that also is an attitude issue – adjust your attitude and talk to yourself – sometimes you have to learn to love your job and ‘bloom where you are planted’)

As you go off into the work world, really work on what makes sense for you.  Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Would you prefer a small or large company?  What about your work / life balance – do you want more free time, more time with family or for your hobbies or for travel?  How much time it might take for you to get promoted? What will it take for you to move up the corporate ladder How can you get experience in multiple areas? Many companies have leadership development programs where you work in several departments over two to five years to really get to know the company.  They think that is a way to really groom people for management if the people have experiences across the company.

Time management:  Don’t lose sight of ‘the prize’ – that is graduation.  You may be out interviewing and could miss classes – make sure you communicate with potential employers about not wanting to miss classes and with faculty so they know that you are out interviewing.

In my experience, most companies like to hire new college graduates in fall semester, so fall semester can be a busy time with interviews and classes.  Also, many companies like to hire those that interned with them the previous summer.

Keep your shoes polished, keep that professional dress or suit ready, be ready to fly to headquarters if they like you.  By-the-way, don’t accept the flight if you have already decided on another job just because you have never been to Seattle (Boeing or Microsoft) and would like to travel at some company’s expense.

Go to practice interviews on campus (most career learning centers will have such practice available).  Don’t be a phony – be yourself – be remarkable, be great, be positive.

Don’t be like a former student who thought she was running a contest to see how many job offers she could get (she got at least ten job offers).  Pick the two (or three) that really interest you (and let others have opportunities as well).

Many students come into college with advanced placement (AP) credits.  Thus many students might have a lighter course load during their senior year.  Some students opt for an early graduation and others opt for the lighter load. I suggest filling the lighter load with additional experiences.  Take more courses, get an additional minor, take some courses in other departments, take a psychology class about getting along with others, take an art class, take a biology class, take a computer class.  In many colleges, you can take a class as a “Pass / Fail” if you don’t want to work hard enough for an “A” – but sometimes you will slack off in a pass/fail class, so taking it as a graded class can keep you learning.  

This year is the LAST year that you are not working until you retire.  Find some friends and do a special spring break trip. Try some other adventurous activity.  Skydiving? Hiking the Grand Canyon? Going on a mission trip to Africa or other destination.  Yes, you are probably almost out-of-money – but make this year memorable. Create some lifelong friends.  Get your campus social networking solid as you move away from campus. Join the alumni association – they want to help you in the long run (and of course, when you get to be very successful, they want you to make contributions back to your campus.  I have an endowed scholarship in my name on one of my campuses and will be adding to it through my will.

As you make that transition to the workplace, add to your network.  Find new mentors. (And … be sure to thank your faculty mentors – take them for lunch to say ‘thanks’).

Adjust your goals for your new life.

And … continue to give back – and give thanks for those that have helped you on the way.

Things to think about

  • How will you prepare for interviews?  Look at websites with interviewing tips.  If you have been working on your soft skills, you should be able to be at ease with your interviews.  Do your homework on the company. If you know who is interviewing you, check out their LinkedIn profile.
  • And … thinking of LinkedIn – is your LinkedIn profile updated?
  • Develop new goals
  • Develop new mentors and new networking contact.

Quote:  “My interviewing style and my approach to things is that, yes, it’s okay to be sincere; it’s okay to be yourself; it’s okay to be real.” Eddie Trunk


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Blog Post #455 Junior Year

Coaching for Life Success: Junior Year

Junior Year:  Getting closer to graduation.

Internship:  You should (must?) have an internship this summer.  Even if you did an internship last summer, it is vital to get one this summer.  This is the dress rehearsal for life!!!

What to expect. Find an internship that matches you and your goals.  Yes, it might be nice to get one with a prestigious company; yes, it might be nice to get the highest pay – but find a meaningful internship.  A place where you can get good experience is the goal.

Do NOT take an unpaid internship.  Yes, you can learn on an unpaid internship.   I strongly feel that you should get paid. When you get paid, the company expects you to deliver real value to the company.  For unpaid internships, you might get asked to do menial activities (we used to say the unpaid intern buys the donuts) – because, after all, you are ‘free help’. Paid internships help build character – show up on time, work hard, be of value.  

But, many majors do require a unpaid internship.  Communications majors, nursing and health science majors, student teachers are among this group.  Still, do your best on the unpaid internship, be on time, do more than is expected.

Get started early – and lean on your mentors and your network.  Ultimately you will decide on which company and where. But you need your mentors and network’s support.

Many companies use internships for “try-before-you-buy” evaluation.  If you like the company, build your rapport so that you can receive a job offer either when you leave the summer internship or in the fall during prime new hiring season.  

Your job is two-fold:  do the work assigned to you during the internship, and impress the management so you do get a job offer.  This is the ‘rookie’ season for you-you want be called up to the ‘big leagues’ – but you have to prove yourself.  If you do well, you should get a job offer; and if you do poorly, the company can write it off to picking the wrong person.  If they hired you full time and they don’t like you, it can be a harder time for the company to fire you. You already have gotten onto the company’s health insurance, retirement plan, and more.  It is like admitting a mistake to have to fire a person. But with an internship, if you aren’t going to work out, they say ‘bye’ to you at the end of the summer; and out of sight can say “We are glad we didn’t hire that one”.

Extras for the Junior Year:

Approach your mentor to see if you can do a joint faculty/student academic paper for a conference or journal.

Approach your mentor or professors to be a teaching assistant.  To be remarkable, you need to be able to interact, to be independent and solve problems.

While I am suggesting not to do an internship with a non-profit company, but it can also be beneficial for you to work for a non-profit.  It will broaden your horizon.

And … it is time for you to give back.  In your organizations, take a leadership role.  Be a mentor to freshmen students, be a ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ in the community.

Things to think about:

  • Who are going to approach for an internship?  
  • What project/ paper/research will you work on with your professor.  
  • What additional skills can you achieve this year?

Quote:  “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Blog Post #454 Sophomore Year

Coaching for Life Success:  Sophomore Year

Moving on to your sophomore year:  What does the author suggest for making yourself remarkable and unique?  

Mentor:  If you haven’t found a good mentor, continue working on it.  

But, if you have a good mentor or have found one, meet with your mentor at least once a month.    

Is your mentor helping you?  How so? Have you built rapport with him/her?  

Can you build this relationship more?  Can you work it for an internship for the summer between your sophomore and junior year?  Internships are great opportunities to see if you like that major. I did faculty internships to build my skills in the computing field.  


Are you meeting other professionals?  Set a goal to network with professionals at least once a month.  Are their campus clubs or societies with your major? Are there groups in the community where you can network?  Can you shadow a professional for a day to see what their day is like?


Are you in the right major?  How do you know? Are you feeling confident?  (It is okay to change majors, but make it for the right reason.)

What kind of specializations might exist in that major? Taking that a step farther, what elective courses might you take to give you an advantage?

Don’t stay away from tough classes and tough teachers.  Being challenged is a good thing. You WILL be challenged on the job – might as well get used to it.

And … experiment with other academic fields.  Interested in another field? Take a class, get a minor in another field – or a double major.  Of the millions of university students across the world, having multiple backgrounds and multiple experiences can give you an advantage.  Broaden your skills and yet also narrow your skills to be what you want to be – and what should be in demand.

Also, expand your horizons.  Consider studying abroad (and make that a meaningful experience with both academics and travel).  


Soft skills (interaction with others) will also be important in your future.  Continue to work with organizations and clubs.

You may also consider work – either a paid job in your major field or a non-paid non-profit.   That can help you build soft skills. Be careful where you are and what you are doing. Keep the end in mind.  No complaining!!

Things to think about:

How are you working on your mentors and mentoring?

How can you build better and stronger networking relations?

How can you build your soft skills and build relationships?

Are you considering other majors or minors or studying abroad?  What areas?

Quote:  Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  Calvin Coolidge


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Blog Post #453 Freshman Year / Time Management -3

Coaching for Life Success – Freshman Year – part 3 – Time Management

Okay, time to throw out aspects of the first freshman blog – where I say “Don’t get involved, say “NO” to activities”.  Part of college is learning balance and learning time management.

I stressed the importance of keeping distractions to a minimum – focus on your goal – getting a degree.  

BUT – for many of you, you already have an obligation – such as being on an athletic scholarship or joining campus organizations.  Some will have part-time jobs. Again the priority is to get to graduation, but keeping balance your life.

Many athletic groups will expect you to spend time in the weight room as well as on the practice field.  If you are in a fall sport (football, volleyball, cross-country), your season will start before your classes start. If you are in a winter or spring sport, you will be having informal practices and working out in the weight room.  It is like a job that you have to squeeze around your academic schedule.

If you have been a high school athlete, you know some of the balance between classes, grades, assignments – and your sport.  Likewise for many other activities. As I drive by the local high school on August mornings, the outstanding marching band is learning their new drill.  If you have been in dramatics, you have balanced your play rehearsals around your classes as well.

Time management is the key.  When you get an hour between classes, don’t throw it away, use it for study, for review.  Find a quiet corner and reread your textbook, or go over an assignment. Depending on how much time you have, you can go to the library and find a study carrel.  This is NOT a social time, but a time to ‘invest’ in yourself and your academics. Time is precious don’t waste it.

Go back to that first lesson on what to do in your freshman year and think about your schedule.  Block out your time. If you have a sport and weight training, put that on your schedule, put your classes in the schedule, put your study time in your schedule; put your exercise time in your schedule; put your meals and sleeping on your schedule.  AND STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. When you have a full schedule (with activities or sports), your life can be complicated. If you are in a sport and traveling to an away game, take an ebook with you, record some of your professors’ lectures and listen to them on the bus,  

Your iPhone (or another smartphone) can be a blessing or a curse in time management.  If you have that hour between class, you can spend the hour texting friends, checking out your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feeds, or you can be reading your textbook (or listening to it) on your phone.  If you have a quiet place for studying, you can listen to quiet music while you study.

Side note:  I have found over the years, that some of the most successful students and most successful adults are very busy and do know how to manage their time.  College is a good time to build good habits for the future.

College is preparing for life in many ways – the academics, the degree, the vocational choices, but also in learning time management.  Learning how to be selective and not overdoing activities and coordinating your time commitments is a good life lesson.

Things to do:

If you are in college, prioritize your activities.  If you are an athlete; if you are pledging a Greek organization; if you are in drama or music; you have to manage your time.  What is a higher priority for you?

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Blog post #452 Freshman Year – part 2

Coaching for Life Success – Freshman Year – part II

Let’s continue looking at things you should be doing in your freshman year to give you an advantage over those millions of college students around the world.

In previous lessons, we have talked about networking and mentors – now is the time to start working on your network and your mentors.

Networking:  If you are thinking about a specific major, check out the various clubs and organizations that relate to that major.  For example, in my field, computer information systems, there was a student organization for those majors. They brought in speakers and professionals in that field.  One event this student organization did was a take-off on speed dating. Each student rotated through six to eight professionals for a five-minute ‘interview’. (A good time to have your elevator speech polished!!) After the interview, the professional gave the student comments about how they did in the interview and how they could improve.  Another student organization did an event where two professional sat with six students around a table. The professionals threw out a question and the students took terms answering it. Sometimes the questions were more open-ended like “If you had a million dollars and had to spend it in a week, what would you do”; and sometimes more specific like “Why did you pick your major” or “What do you see yourself doing in twenty years.  If you have been faithful in doing the previous assignments, you will be ready to answer such questions.

Hang around afterward and ask the visiting professionals on how they picked their majors and their careers.  Ask them for others to network with or to shadow. They have volunteered their time to help students, make the most of it.

Also, start networking with your professors and others.  Stop by to introduce yourself during their office hours. If you are in a large class, (like most freshman classes), introducing yourself will help you understand the professor better.  And it will help them know and understand you. Find out why they picked their major and what path they took to becoming a professor.

This can be tricky.  With your own professors, they something think you are trying to be a “teacher’s pet” and by coming to visit with them, you are really just trying to get on their good side.  Be humble and honest about wanting to network and find out more about careers that might interest you. Build rapport – but don’t be a pest. Never stay longer than 10 minutes unless they seem like they want you to take longer.  (As a professor, I’ve had students that stopped by talk and I couldn’t get rid of them; and also I’ve had students who seemed to really want to know about my suggestions for careers and we talked an hour and it seemed like 10 minutes).  

I would ask where the student is from (nice icebreaker), what activities they were in high school, what major they were thinking about, what groups they were thinking of joining on campus, and other gentle ‘getting to know you’ questions.  Don’t go into political, religious or other controversial topics – your professors are probably twice as old as you are and probably have their politics, religion and other factors figured out for themselves!!

And a word of precaution.  I NEVER met a student in my office with the door closed.  Keep the door open (especially for female students with male professors).

Network with others at or near your university.  Every university has an alumni network. Stop by, introduce yourself and see if there are alumni from your major in your hometown that you can network with over Thanksgiving break, Christmas / semester break, and spring break.  Most alumni are very loyal to their university and will try to help a current student. Maybe you can volunteer to help in the alumni office (watch your time commitment).

Mentor: It is time to start looking for more specific networking help with mentors.  If you feel you have a good rapport with a faculty member or other, ask them if they would like to mentor you.  Give them some ideas of what you are looking for. It needs to be a two-way relationship – they have to get some value out of working with you and you with working with them.  If you are just using the relationship to find an internship or job, it isn’t as valuable as letting them feel valuable in career direction and assistance.

Things to think about:

  • Start working on your network.  Make appointments to introduce you to your professors and possibly others.
  • Then refine your relationships to look for more specific and deeper relationships with a mentor.

Quote:  “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward


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Blog Post #451 Freshman Year

Coaching for Success:  Freshman Year

For the next five lessons, we’ll look at some specific things to do each year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Graduate School).  Some will overlap. If you are not in college, there may still be some gems in the material.

Freshman Year:

Yay – you have been accepted to college!!!  You have done the previous lessons, you understand that the competition is world-wide now; you have set goals including Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG); worked on your attitude; decided to go for GREAT, not just good; find ways to be remarkable; know about traps to avoid; worked on your self-talk and motivation; you are picturing yourself successful and imaging about what your world will be like in several years; worked on networking and finding a mentor or mentors.

So, some specific things for freshman year.

First – learn to say “NO”.

When I went to college, I was scared I’d flunk out.  My first semester, I spent at least three hours for every hour in class.  I read my books, I did my assignments, I did extra assignments. I “knew” the material quite well.  And … I learned how to say “NO”. When somebody on my dorm floor came by to say “Hey, let’s go for pizza”, the answer was NO; when there is a dance / speaker / program / event at some location, my answer was NO.  

I created a calendar (it was on paper, these days, Excel would work.  I scheduled classes, studying, meals, sleep and not much else.

To be honest, I was VERY boring.  While the adage is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” maybe be true, in my class, “all work and no play” helped me to get great grades that first semester.  I did learn how to slack off after that semester, but I was set a high level by getting strong grades that semester.

Second – learn how to study.

Okay, you have been a student, from Kindergarten through High School.  You know how to study don’t you? The reality is probably not. You ‘kind of’ know how to study.  

Sure, you go to your room at (say) 7:00 p.m., turn on the TV or music, check your email, Google some information, check out the latest YouTube videos or Facebook posts, and read your textbook.  At 11:00, you put down your books and congratulate yourself on four hours of studying. You maybe did an hour.

The suggestion is to get rid of distractions.  No TV, and it might be okay for music – like soothing Bach string quartets!!  Don’t go on the Internet (unless you absolutely need to); don’t go to email or Facebook.  

There are many great concepts available for you.  I’ve been looking at: and and many others.

Take time to read and really understand studying.

Your campus probably has a Learning Center (or similar).  Go there before classes start and find a class, seminar on “Studying in College”.  Even if you have to pay something, it should be worth it.

Third – Plan / Plan / Plan your Schedule and your Time.

As mentioned before, develop a schedule – AND STICK TO IT.  

Every minute of your life is now set for one main goal – do a great job in college and graduate on time with highest honors.  Every minute should have purpose. Sleeping has a purpose – refresh your body; exercise has purpose – keep you fit (and that might be more important than you think); even a few (very few) social events have a purpose (relax you and clear your mind).  Every minute counts. Try not to waste time.

Allow some down time – time for some exercise, a jog around campus, maybe even a basketball game or activity.  But, the reason you are in college is to learn and to get a degree. Playing a pickup basketball game might be fun and a stress reliever, but does it help your learning and degree goals?  

Socializing is good, but watch your time.  There is an old expression that is probably true (not true for all, of course) that college is the best four years of your life.  After all, you get to live away from home, away from parental supervision, setting your own time – and (generally) letting somebody else pay the bills.  I remember after my first semester, one of my best times of the day was after dinner in the cafeteria. A casual group would get a cup of coffee (which is where I learned to drink coffee – but it could be water or anything) and just talked.    But, I didn’t spend hour upon hour socializing!!

Saturday? Sunday?  Yes – you study on BOTH weekend days.  “But there is a big home football game this Saturday” – okay, then get up at 7:00 and study before the game.  “OH – my favorite pro team (in my case, the Green Bay Packers) are on Sunday night football – I have to watch!!”  To be honest you don’t “have to watch” it. You might enjoy it – and if you allocate your time, you can take some time to watch the game – but if not, you can take a break every hour and check the score – and get back to studying.

Fourth – tests

Depending on the class, tests will probably be the main component of your college work.  When the professor announces a test (and it should also be on the course syllabus), start them preparing for the test.  What has the professor emphasized in class? What important concepts are in the textbook? Are there study questions at the end of the textbook chapter?  Do them – all of them. Get another textbook from the library (and yes, they should have similar texts for all classes) and go through the study questions and review questions.  

I remember being so ready for my math classes tests.  I did all the assignment in the textbook, including ones the professor didn’t assign.  I pictured myself (envisioning / imaging) knowing all the questions, I walked into the classroom so prepared that I could almost have taught the class – AND – created the test.

Again, go to the Learning Center and get help on test studying.  Essay tests will be different than multiple choice tests.

Things to think about:

  • Read (and read and read) and take thorough notes on how to study in college.  
  • Find where the campus learning center is and make an appointment (you can probably make an appointment online even before you get to campus).
  • Start reading your books.  Write down your notes. The kinesthetic process of reading (eyes) and writing (hands) help the learning become stronger.
  • Set up a schedule.

Start practicing saying “NO”  No, that isn’t strong enough!!!  SAY NO!!! I HAVE TO STUDY!!!! MY PRIORITY IS TO GRADUATE!!



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Blog Post #450 Mentoring IV

Blog Post #450 Mentoring IV

Continuing from yesterday – How to find a great mentor.

In this article from Forbes Magazine, about looking for a mentor, the article says:
“If someone has to ask the question [will you be my mentor], the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.  The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”

For example, let’s say you are a student at XYZ University thinking about majoring in accounting.  You hear that Professor Simione, from the Accounting Department at XYZ has written the #3 most successful accounting textbook.  You make an appointment to see Professor Simione through the department secretary and the first time you can meet with her is in two weeks.  In those two weeks, you read up on Professor Simione, you see the press releases from the book publisher, see her bio online and you get excited about meeting her.  Your appointment is at 2:00; and at 1:30 you are in a chair in the hallway outside her office – sitting nervously waiting. You can hear her on the phone as you sit in the hall.  

At 2:15 she opens her door and invites you in.  She is very cordial and welcomes you with a friendly greeting.  As you sit down, her phone rings and she says “I have to take this, it’s my publisher”.  You sit quietly for 15 minutes as she talks with her publisher.

She returns to you and says “Now, where were we?  Yes, you are interested in majoring in accounting.”  She goes on for a few minutes about how strong the program is at XYZ University, the percentage of those that pass the CPA exams on the first try out of the program, and some other information.  The phone rings. This time it is the department secretary and you hear Dr. Simione say “Send her down”. She again returns to you with a few more comments about accounting when there is a knock on the door.  She looks up and says “Hello Dr. Wilson.” She turns to you and apologetically says “I’m sorry, I can’t talk longer with you today. Hopefully, I gave you some ideas about accounting.” You leave and Dr. Wilson goes into her office, the door is closed and you are out in the hallway again, without getting to know Dr. Simione and without being able to ask her about being a mentor to you.

So, back to the drawing board.  You start attending the Accounting Society meetings and meet many of the members.  They have speakers from some of the local businesses come in to talk about their experience.  You make sure you get to know the guest speakers and ask them some questions (that is, you start networking with them.)  Be patient, eventually, you will ‘click’ with a person that will be a great mentor for you.

The article suggests that you have to be a person that the potential mentor would be glad to have.  Do you look studious? Are you reasonably dresses? Are you comfortable with that person and are they comfortable with you?  

The last suggestion from the article is:  “Finally, whenever you’re in a quandary about how to get help from someone, put yourself in their shoes.  If the tables were turned, what would you want to see from this individual asking for help? If you were inundated with requests for help every day, what type of person would YOU choose to assist, and why? Go out and become that person that others would love to support and nurture.”

There is an old adage “to make friends you have to be a friend first”.  Let the mentor feel comfortable with you, volunteer to help them with projects, work the relationship.

What do you think?

Have you had mentors?  How did you find them?


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Blog Post #449 Mentoring III

Blog Post #449 Mentoring III

Continuing from yesterday – looking for a GREAT mentor!!

I have been a mentor for many students.  But, this link (article) says it as well as I could:

  1. Willingness to Share Skills, Knowledge and Expertise
  2. Demonstrates a Positive Attitude and Acts as a Positive Role Model
  3. Takes a Personal Interest in the Mentoring Relationship
  4. Exhibits Enthusiasm in the Field
  5. Values Ongoing Learning and Growth in the Field
  6. Provides Guidance and Constructive Feedback
  7. Respected by Colleagues and Employees in All Levels of the Organization
  8. Sets and Meets Ongoing Personal and Professional Goals

Yesterday we looked at the first four points, Today, we are going to look at the last four points.

5) Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.  
You MUST be a lifelong learner.  Your mentor needs to be conversant with what is going on in the field.  I was an information systems person and my field changed every day – with new technologies.  I had to keep up with artificial intelligence, robotics and more, although not be an expert in each area.

6) Provides guidance and constructive feedback

Your mentor needs to lead and guide you – not yell at you.  He/she needs to encourage you and give you enough guidance to move along.  Learning new things is a tough balancing point – too hard and the learner gets ‘turned off’; too easy, and again the learner gets turned off.

7) Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.

Your mentor needs to have such positive values that others recognize him/her.  As a ‘master teacher’ and a service award winner, I was respected by others. My mentees knew that and knew they could approach me.

8) Sets and Meets ongoing personal and professional goals

In this whole series of blogs, I have written about attitude, goals, being great and remarkable.  Your mentor also needs to have goals – both personal and professional.

Find a great mentor, stick with him or her.  I have students that even now, years after graduation ask me questions and contact me for advice.


Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #448 Mentoring II

Blog Post #448 Mentoring II

Let’s look at this from the ‘reverse side’ – what is a good mentor.

Yes – if you are in college, if you are changing jobs, if you are just unsure of what is going on – you need a mentor.  Years ago, it might have been your father or mother, or a clergy person. Today it is more likely to be a professional in your job field.

I have been a mentor for many students.  But, this link (article) says it as well as I could:

  1. Willingness to Share Skills, Knowledge and Expertise
  2. Demonstrates a Positive Attitude and Acts as a Positive Role Model
  3. Takes a Personal Interest in the Mentoring Relationship
  4. Exhibits Enthusiasm in the Field
  5. Values Ongoing Learning and Growth in the Field
  6. Provides Guidance and Constructive Feedback
  7. Respected by Colleagues and Employees in All Levels of the Organization
  8. Sets and Meets Ongoing Personal and Professional Goals

In older days, a person might become an apprentice to a master.  That master would guide that younger person to eventually become a master as well.  

Today, we are going to look at the first four points.

  1. Look for a mentor/expert in your area that you are learning.  It might be great to have an expert in finance, but if you are learning information systems, that might not be the best choice (but, don’t dismiss the option too early).  As a faculty mentor, I wanted to share and teach the field; I wanted the student to learn and grow.
  2. You don’t want a crabby mentor.  You want one that is positive and upbeat.  Now, we all have bad days, and if you approach a person who you think is good on a bad day, try them again.  Maybe they are sick that day. I’ve had days when I should not have been in the classroom – flu and feeling lousy.  But, most days I’m very positive and very upbeat.
  3. ** You must have a mentor that is interested in YOU.  If they are not interested, don’t have the time, can’t make the time for you, forget that person. This is probably the most important on the list.  Better a lesser expert that has time and wants to help you than a well-known expert who is NOT interested in you or in mentoring you. Some people (faculty) have a great rapport and have a lot of mentees, but most can squeeze in if they believe in you.
  4. While some realism is good; enthusiasm is contagious.  Remembering the old quote “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”.  They will know the field, the job opportunities. Trust their judgment as they guide you.  If they say a particular field has drawbacks, listen to them. If you want to be a marine biologist and you don’t like water and ships, they might counsel you into another aspect of biology.

While networking is very important, having a fantastic mentor can top that.  Your mentor becomes your cheerleader. Build the relationship carefully. Take the mentor for a cup of coffee.  Listen carefully to them, interact with them, ask questions, and be sure to tell them “Thanks”. As a faculty mentor, I loved to encourage student mentees, but that time spent mentoring took me away from some research, grading and lesson planning.  But, be careful of their time. Ask if this is a good time.

Tomorrow – more mentoring – the last four bullet points from above.


Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments