The benefit of having a mentor to help navigate these changes is invaluable. A mentor can share past experiences, help you become involved in more activities and introduce you to new friends. Mentors can help you have a better transition to the college experience away from home.
If you’re wondering how to find a mentor in college, the following suggestions might inspire you to take action.
1. Ask for advice from an international upperclassman: Imagine what you will know about your U.S. college three years from now. You might know every corner of your school, understand which organizations are the strongest on campus or have acquired helpful tips to get a great internships.
This is the value that international student upperclassmen can give you as a new student. They know what they could have done if they had had a second chance as a new student. The knowledge they have acquired throughout all these years could be transferred to you.
Throughout my college experience, I have received many great advice from my professors and my friends who are upperclassmen. They truly helped me grow up wisely.
When you meet international upperclassmen, ask them to tell more about their college experiences, share what they do on the weekends or give some thoughts on their previous internships.
If you find a mutual interest and believe you can learn much more from one of these individuals, do not hesitate to keep in touch with that person and probe him or her with more thoughtful questions. Experience is golden.
2. Ask your professors for academic advice: Do not be afraid to have a talk with your favorite professor. You will not bother them by asking questions related to your passion for learning. Your favorite professor might already teach many international students just like you. He or she could give you wise advice to help strengthen your academic experiences.
I have a professor at school whose advice always enlightens my thinking about my academic pursuits, such as books I should read to deepen my understanding of my major or research opportunities that are available.
3. Join a mentor program through your school or a student organization: Many student organizations have mentor programs. By joining a student organization, you have a chance to have a mentor or to work with many mentors.
Very often, your school may also have cultural organizations where you can find friends who come from the same background as you do. Increase your chances of finding a mentor by joining one or more student organizations.
Your school may also have mentor programs exclusively for new international students. You can simply ask your school adviser or the international students office for more information about these mentor programs and register to have a mentor for your freshman year.
I have a mentor and I also mentor others. At my school, I’m a part of the Near Peer Program, which helps new students, particularly international students, to have a better transition to life at school and in Philadelphia.
A mentor can help you adapt quickly to a new college environment, especially when he or she comes from the same background as you do. However, you can not rely solely on your mentor to succeed.
You are responsible for your own self-development, so take your mentor’s advice and grow wisely. If you have a chance to later become a mentor of someone else, take it. You will soon realize this beauty of mentorship circle.