The Power of Mentorship

Without mentors, where would we be? What choices would we have made? How different would our lives be?

Personally, I would be lost. Multiple people, all of whom I have the honour to call my mentors, have provided me with tremendous guidance and support. In doing so, they have transformed my life.

In my early years of elementary school, I struggled with English. Consequently, my parents enrolled me in English classes on Saturday mornings.  I have since realized that this English instructor was my first mentor. However, at such a young age, the concept of a mentor was unfamiliar. Nonetheless, I did notice that she had a steadfast belief in my potential, even when I was rife with
insecurities about school. When I was disheartened, she reminded me of my capability. Her “can-do” attitude was infectious. As she nurtured my confidence, English and other courses became less daunting. The origins of school starting to “click” began with my English instructor.

Since I first stepped foot in his lab as a high school student, my research supervisor has been facilitating my growth. He has cultivated my fearlessness of asking questions- even the “stupid” questions, for which the answers are obvious. This ability is accelerating my learning; I can pinpoint what I do not know, and can rectify it immediately. More importantly though, he has provided me with constructive feedback at every stage of my projects. He asks me the hard questions to evaluate my work, encourages me to make changes when appropriate, and pushes for improvement. This can be extended outside of scientific methodology, and can be adopted as a way of life. My research supervisor inspires me to constantly strive for improvement, which is instrumental in my pursuit of a career in science.

For me, a mentor is someone who helps you envision a brighter future, and helps you achieve feats you never thought possible. In the words of Bob Proctor, mentors “[see] more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and [help] bring it out of you”. I am so blessed and grateful that my mentors are doing exactly that.

photo credit: Massmo Relsig via photopin

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