“Finding a mentor is a lot like dating…you wouldn’t respond to a super long message from a stranger, right?” -P
Haha…these past two weeks have proven that statement to be a very accurate analogy. Like my methods towards dating, in my search for a mentor:
1. I’m open. I’m willing to listen and give people chances
2. Chemistry is important. Sounds weird putting it in this context, but it really is. Also, the ‘chemistry’ in the lab also is important…get it? HAHA sorry too tempting to pass up 😉
3. Future prospects matter…a little bit. Though less in dating than here. Or is it vice versa ???
4. Connections are vital–they make or break who you might be able to meet, and can open so many doors!!
5. I’m still too nice. Need to be more effective at communication. Need to be FIRM when I do NOT want to work with someone. No but’s…you can’t have everything!
6. I like knowing everything about a person, so in a mentor search pubmed, the NIH website and the interwebs is basically the ‘fb’ of each investigator. haha
7. First impressions are very important.
8. At the end of the day, you just need to take a leap of faith and COMMIT!!
Unfortunately though, unlike in dating, a ‘date’ or meeting that doesn’t end up working out doesn’t mean a new friend…that’s a whole area of lost connections. Yikes.
These past two weeks have been initially stressful, because I was in a rush to identify a mentor or at least get SOME leads…but while I would really like to identify a mentor soon (so I can start working!! and also stop wasting people’s time) I actually sort of enjoy this process. It is a lot like attending mini-seminars at an umbrella of a ‘conference’ of my research interests…it is very awesome learning about each individual team’s work, questions, and variations in methodology! I’ve learned so much in this past week…particularly because the people I talk with are so brilliant and accomplished, and have so much experience ;__; I wish I could work with everyone (maybe that’s not impossible? hmm…particularly if I do microbiome stuff?? (reality check…no))
Need to remember proper etiquette in my correspondence during this time. Particularly:
-Just like in medicine, each person you talk with is an individual who demands your individual attention, and frankly doesn’t know nor could care less about the many other people you are in correspondence with. So, RESPECT. Respond to emails in a time manner, because their time is just as important as yours.
-Take the time to craft a well thought out, well executed email. These people, again, are at the top of their field, have years of experience, and are (amazingly) willing to give you their time! Though you are no where near their level, respect!!
-Calling someone by their first name still does NOT make them your peer. Need to get used to this. It took me a year and a half to finally get on terms with calling K by his first name, just because it was so hard for me to give him the respect I thought he deserved as my mentor otherwise. But EVERYONE does it in research. ^__^’ OK FINE, first name basis it is, but KEEP THAT RESPECT
-At the same time, don’t discount yourself. I feel almost inferior compared to the brilliance of the people here, but apparently I guess getting into the program counts for something huh? And apparently people are impressed my CV, which IS who I am, so I guess all this hard work does pay off?
I am really blessed to be accepted to a program that does recognize hard work paying off. Again, am so fortunate to have this amazing opportunity.
Also, while this is technically a ‘year off’ from med school, it is NOT a ‘year off’. Made that mistake my first summer…not going to let something as incredible as this go to waste. Already my schedule is booked for the weekend and summers…hopefully things will calm down later this year ^__^’