Want a mentor in your department but not sure who to reach out to?
The easiest mentor to accumulate are your peers, but Texas A&M Engineering also offers a wealth of professors with vast experience in the industry and knowledge about what it takes to be successful. You can reach out to a professor in your engineering department and seek mentorship with just a simple email or by visiting their office! Find your perfect fit by searching what they teach and their background.
Whether it’s earning a 4.0 for the semester, an internship for the summer, leading an organization, or receiving a full-time offer come graduation, it’s easy to get caught up in getting to the end goal. We, as engineers, can be very prideful about accomplishing feats individually, yet mentors are extremely important to long-term success.
Mentors come in many varieties: a class professor, research professor, upperclassman, co-worker, manager, etc. But they all serve to guide you along your path. It’s a humbling experience to have someone take the time to teach you concepts that you struggle with. Mentors build you up by being candid with you and sharing wisdom for how to approach situations.
Seldom do we truly do things alone these days. Mentors reinforce the premises of teamwork, wanting you to grow as a person by investing in you. They remind you of the importance of building team members up and seeing individuals from different perspectives. A good mentor inspires you to be a mentor. Letting the cycle continue, you tend to want to share your wealth of knowledge with someone willing to listen. Having been helped, you seek to help. These skills allow you to be a better leader – knowing when to offer advice and when to hear someone out.
Moral of the story: don’t be intimidated by someone’s level of expertise; be willing to listen and learn.
Lastly, the best mentors provide networking opportunities. From taking time to connect you with some of their peers to recommending you for jobs down the line, mentors serve as gateways into the professional environment.
There are many ways for finding a mentor. As a student, it’s simply a matter of building up the courage to talk to professors and find one willing to provide time for you. In organizations, many upperclassmen would be happy to bestow knowledge on younger peers. Even in fields not pertaining to engineering, you can find people ready to offer advice. Of course, once you’ve gotten an internship, don’t take the team you are surrounded with for granted. The greatest companies know the worth of their interns and will invest in you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, hear other people’s journeys and stay open to any and all opportunities. You never know where one handshake (or virtual meeting) will take you. Moral of the story: don’t be intimidated by someone’s level of expertise; be willing to listen and learn.
In my path, mentors have built me up to who I am today. From my manager at a water park in high school to my research professors in college and my co-workers at NASA during internships, I’ve been lucky to have had advice on every major decision I’ve had to make. There’s no way I would be working at NASA if it weren’t for the guidance I’ve received. By keeping in touch with my mentors, I’ve been able to grow relationships beyond the premise I met my mentors in. Oh, and of course the Aggie Ring doesn’t hurt for getting a few more paths paved.