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What are the strenghts of a mentor?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Doctor246853, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Doctor246853

    5+ Year Member

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    I will be meeting a faculty physician at UTSW next week and discussing him becoming my mentor. Now besides the obvious LOR advantage what are the strenghts of having a mentor? How often do you meet with them? Twice a month? Thanks.
     
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  3. TheMightySmiter

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    Hmmm, I didn't know pre-meds had physician mentors...I thought that this is something med students often do as part of their curriculum?
     
  4. ALMD

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    A physician at UTSW has been mentoring me since summer 09. I met him through a research program. Don't make it so obvious that you are trying to get something from them. Honestly I didn't even think about LORs until this May.

    My first impression was that they are pretty insecure about trusting people, took awhile to break down the wall, just show your sincerity that you really want their guidance.

    Benefits? alot. Offering jobs, introduce you to other people, its all networking, also he can let me shadow you, train you so you can assist him in OR, department weekly conference, etc...

    About when to meet, you have to ask him, you work with his schedule.
     
  5. his strength is that he has experienced a ton of stuff that you haven't. just get him talking about what he has done, what he has seen, what he thinks about things.
     
  6. Doctor246853

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    It is for medical students but I've emailed a few of the docs and every single one of them agreed to take me. Im excited.
     
  7. Doctor246853

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    Thanks! Are you guys at Childrens? All the ones I talked to are officed there.
     
  8. Narmerguy

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    I don't know the nature of how he became your "mentor", but a mentor does not have to be a standardized thing with formal schedules, expectations of LOR, etc. The poster I quoted below captures a lot of what is great about a mentor.

    To me, it would seem odd to even ask for a LOR from such a mentor if you haven't had them for a class since your relationship will essentially center around conversations and email correspondence. The best value from a mentor won't be a LOR simply in learning the way the world works (from his perspective) and getting advice from someone that's seen it and done it.

    I also feel compelled to point out that just because someone wants to be your mentor doesn't mean they'll be a good one. A lot of what makes a good mentor will depend on how good you two's chemistry is, how open and frank he is with you, how broad his experiences and knowledge is such that he can advice you on a wide range of topics, how much time he actually has to devote to you, and how willing he is to network for you, make calls, send letters of introduction, etc.

    Think of it like college advisors. You can see them any time, or perhaps you only see them on scheduled appointments. Perhaps they know a lot about a lot of different majors, departments, professors, and classes--while they may only know a lot about their own department. Just because someone agrees to be an advisor (like a premed advisor for example) doesn't mean they'll be good at it or a good fit for you.

    Mentoring is awesome though. I'm still looking for that great mentor. I've had a lot of really good ones that have addressed specific aspects of my life and future career goals but not one that really brings it all together and has been there and seen what I want to do. Mentoring can be awesome stuff when you make it work.

     
  9. Doctor246853

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    I wasn't asking what are "his" strengths but what are "the" strengths of having a faculty mentor.
     
  10. Narmerguy

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    His strengths are the only strengths. You don't bring very much to the table if you're being mentored. Your ability to understand what he's saying and to ask good questions are valuable, but these are still all dependent on what he can tell/do for you in the first place.
     
  11. Doctor246853

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    Thanks for the post. The only reason I said LOR is because they might get to know your character outside of academia or research.
     
  12. ALMD

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    No, mine was officed at the outpatient surgical center next to st.paul.

    It will be a nice experience, so enjoy!
     
  13. ElCapone

    ElCapone Don't Lawyer Me
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    I wish I had a faculty physician mentor :(
     
  14. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist
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    Besides the LOR, they can tell you how the admission / candidate review procedures at their school works. You can often join / aid their research projects and perhaps even their philanthropy projects. Many doctors also do pro bono work / trips and you can be sure these will be more interesting than a $3000 weekend in Kenya.
     
  15. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist
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    I had a great one, but look where I ended up! :cool:
     
  16. Stumpyman

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    So what kind of benefits does a mentor giv to your application persay?
     
  17. ElCapone

    ElCapone Don't Lawyer Me
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    St. George's is a great school. One of the most competent and compassionate docs I know went there.
     
  18. Doctor246853

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    That is what I was asking...
     
  19. Narmerguy

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    Not much if that's his only relationship to you. He shouldn't write you a letter since you want to use that for people you have had classes with, researched with, worked for, or worked with in some capacity. Other than that, it's not like you two are doing anything but talking.

    Now, as has already been mentioned, if he goes out of his way to introduce you to people or find you research opportunities, etc, then those things can provide their own value. But he can't be much more than a gateway, both to knowledge and to opportunities that you might benefit from.

    Now, some people use their research PI's as a mentor, other's might use a professor they've had...and in these cases it's possible that the mentor has added value because now they can both talk about your classwork/research but also know and comment on things about your character, motivations, ambitions, etc. But that would require you to actually do stuff with them--which is neither necessary nor sometimes even advisable for your relationship with the mentor.
     
  20. 235788

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    I was a mentor for freshman for two years. They thanked me in the end and said it was nice to have someone who wasn't faculty there to help them. It depends on how needy the student is. Some were weekly others once a month if that.
     
  21. Doctor246853

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    Dam you broke that down great. Well I already have a good research project and a good relationship with my PI (he also teaches my genetics class). As far as the knowledge goes, I work at a teaching hospital and talk to all the students/residents/attendings. He will probably tell me just about what I've already heard a million times. I have all my bases covered but just thought that having a mentor from my top choice school would give me an edge:rolleyes:. I guess I'm going to cancel that date then, there's no need to strain the little time I already have if it's not gona make a difference. Dam, I guess I will have to make up some lame excuse and call him tomorrow.:oops:
     
  22. URHere

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    One thing I want to stress about mentors: (1) they won't be much good to you unless you can establish a comfortable, honest relationship with them, and (2) their advice will mean the most if you find someone whose path you actually want to follow.

    Since I've been in medical school, I've been assigned about 5 mentors, but the only person who has actually served as a useful mentor to me is a postdoc that I just happened to cross paths with. The official mentors all offered advice, and personal anecdotes, but that doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot unless the person gets to know you well and is to give you honest (sometimes brutal) feedback. The person who can be 100% honest with you, without offending you is a rare find.

    So...this isn't really what you asked, but it is relevant. Meet with your official mentor, but always be on the lookout for people who really make an impression on you or seem to particularly resonate with your personality. Sometimes, those people are the best mentors of all.
     
  23. Doctor246853

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    Good advice. I'm not gona waste his nor my time. I just wanted to network and make connections but this seems to be a waste of what little time I have to give. Thanks guys.
     

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