Here at UC Berkeley, it may sometimes feel as though guidance and mentorship are few and far between. There are so many different resources available that sometimes, it may be confusing or daunting to know where or whom to turn to when you feel like you need a push or pull to guide you in the right direction. Navigating your academics, career and other aspects of life as a college student is no easy task. Luckily for you, you’re surrounded by so many different people (remember, there are more than 40,000 people at this university, after all) who would be willing to offer a helping hand and lend you their expertise. But where exactly do you look for these trusted mentors? Allow us to help you out.
Professors and GSIs
Professors and GSIs, or anyone teaching or lending you knowledge in any capacity, are a pretty obvious go-to when it comes to finding a mentor, but oftentimes, they’re overlooked. Remember those things called office hours? Well, if you’re particularly interested in a class you’re taking or you want to learn more about the specific topic or field of work that the class covers, that’s what visiting your professors and GSIs in their office hours is for! It may seem daunting at first, considering these experts pretty much dictate your grades, but they’re experts, after all. They’re some of the best people to talk to for professional advice, getting research opportunities or just generally learning more about life. So go to office hours, kids!
If seeking out a mentor in one of your professors or GSIs still seems a little scary to you, don’t fear, because Berkeley Connect courses are here! Berkeley Connect is one of the most direct ways to find a mentor on campus, as these courses connect you with your own personal graduate student mentor who provides one-on-one advising sessions, organizes small group discussions to connect you with other students who share your academic interests and even serves as a stepping stone to help you build relationships with professors and alumni. If this hasn’t already sold you, just know that several Berkeley Connect courses offer free food. Yes, FREE food. And if that still hasn’t sold you, there are no homework assignments, quizzes or exams in Berkeley Connect. Boom, our job here is done.
Major Insights Mentorship Program
For transfer students, in particular, coming to a new university and getting acclimated can be rather intimidating. Luckily, the Transfer Student Center offers a mentoring program called Major Insights that pairs first-semester transfer students with continuing transfer students in the same major. This way, new students can learn all of the ins and outs of managing upper-division coursework and succeeding academically within their major. It’s also a great way to form a support network and ensure a smooth transition during those first few months as a transfer student at UC Berkeley.
An older member of a campus club or organization
If you’re in a club or organization on campus, one of the best sources for mentors is older members of that club or organization you’re already in! Considering that you’re working toward the same cause or goal, it’s likely that you already share a common interest and can bond over that. Whether the club is professional-, service- or hobby-based, asking an older member, especially if they’re an officer, for their advice and wisdom about life at UC Berkeley and beyond is a great way to get the ball rolling in finding a mentor to guide you through the remainder of your time here. It’s never too let to get started, so don’t be afraid to speak up and reach out! We promise you they won’t bite.
A co-worker or boss
If you happen to work a campus or off-campus job, finding a mentor in a boss or even a co-worker is a great option. No matter where you work, your boss or co-workers are there to guide you in your career and maybe even give you some life tips and skills along the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help or guidance when you need it! They could help you advance further in your current role or move on to your next one.
Your roommate, friend or classmate
Mentors don’t necessarily have to be far older or wiser beyond your years. Sometimes, a roommate, friend or classmate makes for a great mentor when you’re seeking academic, career or[just general life advice. Find that person you feel like you can go to with your problems and questions, whichever area of life they may be in. Make plans to meet with these people often, and maybe return the favor every once in a while! A mentor-mentee relationship doesn’t have to be just a one-way street.
Seeking mentors as college students can be nerve-wracking, but hopefully, you’ll look to these people and places to find the guidance you’re looking for as you make your way through the rest of your college years.