Step 4: Activities and Discussion Topics

Often, during this time of the year, we are all inundated with family events, holiday celebrations, and year-end wrap-ups at work. We feel the weight of winter upon us as the days grow shorter, and become less motivated to pursue our goals. We can always start afresh come the New Year, right? Well, now is the perfect time to reflect on the progress of your mentoring relationship and to plan your next few meetings. As the mentee, you are responsible for driving this relationship and for making sure you achieve the goals you set out in the beginning. How has the relationship fared so far?

Mentoring relationships often begin with periodic meetings at cafes. Although it may be a perfect setting for you and your mentor to get to know each other, as your relationship progresses, a chat over a cup of coffee may not have the kind of impact you are looking for from your mentor. Think outside the box. Would your mentor be open to accompanying you to a networking event? Would they help you connect with other areas of the university, or even to contacts outside of Yale? Make a list of activities you may like to do with your mentor and discuss it with them at your next meeting.

As the mentoring program time span is one year, you have almost reached the midpoint of your mentoring relationship. Now is the time to consider the second half and eventual closure of your relationship. Plan your last few meetings carefully. Perhaps you want to discuss with your mentor if you would both like to continue the mentorship for another year. Do not be upset if they do not want to sign on – they have made their commitment and followed through for the year. Thank them for their time! Mark your last meeting as an opportunity to conclude the program in a positive and affirming way. Reflect on the year and celebrate the goals you have achieved!

The FLY Mentorship Committee would love to hear about your experience. Any time you need support or guidance during your self-directed mentoring relationship, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us! After you have concluded your mentorship cycle, please contact us and give us your feedback. We want to include your opinions and make this experience as positive and beneficial as we can for our members.

To conclude, and in celebration of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we would like to share what we learned from Star Wars:

The Value of a Solid Mentor Is Unparalleled

“Sometimes introspection and self-awareness aren’t enough to get you through a rough patch. This is when a mentor can be invaluable. Find your Yoda. Yours may not be quite as green or reverse their words when they talk, but that’s OK. Luke had two: Obi-Wan and Yoda. Obi-Wan was already watching over him – we should all be so lucky – but Luke sought out Yoda to reach his full potential. Deep down, even his self-absorbed former self knew he’d need help from someone who had dealt with the dark side before.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about a mentor who spouts clichés over coffee. Find one who is great at what he does and who genuinely wants to help. Choose someone who’s already walked down a path that you want to go. Trust me on this (I’ve been on both sides) – it’s as rewarding for your mentor as it is beneficial to you.”

- Venkat Krishnamurthy