At my law school, after the dreadful 1L year, 2Ls are encouraged to sign up for a mentor program for incoming 1Ls. It’s a completely volunteer based program and if you sign up, you’re matched together based on a similar undergrad, hometown, home state, etc. I signed up last week and a few days ago received my mentee!
I didn’t engage with my mentor at all last year, in fact, I never responded to her initial first contact email. In the email she introduced herself as somebody else, which I later found out was her mentor. I took that as a sign that she didn’t really care about the program or helping me. I mean, come on, not only did she copy and paste her mentors initial contact email to her and email it to me as her own, but she couldn’t even remember to put her own name in the intro paragraph?
I decided that I would be a much more attentive mentor to my assigned mentee. Not only did I create my own intro email, but I even introduced myself as myself! How amazing, right? At first I was nervous that he wouldn’t answer, but he did and he seems very polite and eager to learn more tips about law school. I gave him tons of tips (my reply email was 9 paragraphs), but then I started thinking, “is this the only thing that a mentor does, give hints and tips?” To find the answer to that question, I turned to my trusty sidekick, google to help me find the answer.
According to google, a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor,” and a mentee is “a person who is advised, trained, or counseled by a mentor.” I dug a little deeper and found five traits that I think make a good mentor.
- Takes a genuine interest in the mentee’s life and goals.
- Exhibits a positive and respectful attitude towards the mentee.
- Willing to help share secrets, advice, and tips about how the mentee can succeed.
- Active listening skills.
- Being available for a mentee’s questions or concerns.
Has anybody acted as a mentor, or had a mentor before? What traits do you think made them a good or bad mentor?