By Lindsey Shanck, Toppel Peer Advisor

When you think about the journey to who you have become today, who are the people that stand out in a positive way? Maybe your mother stands out in your mind, your grandfather or your neighbor. How have these people influenced decisions you have made and the choices that have brought you to where you are now?

These are questions to consider when self-reflecting on all the aspects that make you who you are today, and who you will become in the future. Having a mentor, whether it is a professor, a boss, or a relative, will become even more important for a multitude of reasons. What are some characteristics of a good mentor?

1. Wisdom.

Your mentor has experienced more of both success and failure than you have. Consulting them about important decisions such as going to grad school or accepting a job offer will help give you a different perspective.

  1. Education. 

A good mentor can take life accomplishments they have had and use what they learned to help you. Whether they have multiple degrees, or they own their business, chances are they had to turn many corners to get where they are now.

  1. Role Model. 

Just like your mentor may have taught you to mow the lawn, get an A in calculus, or be confident in an interview, they are there to provide you a positive example. Just like their mentors have taught them great advice, they are going to teach you those same values.

  1. Selfless.

Mentors are selfless and teach you to be selfless too. They have what is best for you in mind and want you to succeed in what ever it is you are doing.

So think about who your mentor is and what they have taught you. As you think about your next step, whether it is medical school or a summer internship, think of how the things you learn in these experiences will make you a good mentor one day too!