The Cyclical Pattern of Mentorship

This week I connected with an alumni named Raissa Berry. She has just graduated medical school and I decided to reach out to her because she is in a position that I would like to be in in about 4 years. Another reason I connected with her is because I am curious about how she got there. Lately, I have been meeting with some of my professors and real doctors to give me advice on how to pursue the application process, so it seemed very fitting.

My research mentor is a post doctorial fellow in the Hatfull Lab. Upon being hired, I passed her in the wing of our lab quite a bit and she gave an occasional lecture or two to the undergraduates. She was very friendly, but I did not know the extent of her work, project, and what she wanted to get out of her work experience in the Hatfull Lab. Now, I feel like I have a more personal connection to Krista because she has told me where she came from, I know the extent of her work right now, and I know what she would like to do with her life. One piece of advice that I would give to other students looking for a mentor is – don’t be afraid to ask a person for advice. When you get stuck, people tend to either resolve the problem themselves or look for someone to help them. In the case of research, no one can make connections by themselves. It is a push and pull process where you give them the ability to teach and you learn as a result. Hopefully, the cyclical process of the mentor-mentee gets reincarnated when you one day get to take another under your wing! It’s like a sine wave. OR an ouroboros – a snake eating its own tail. It represents an infinite cycle of wisdom, where two unlike parts (head, Mentor; tail, mentee) connect and make a whole.

Some connections that I would like to make are people that can give me a strong idea of what it is like to be a physician. I am not talking about what their everyday life is like, although that is important to get a sense of. I want to know how the job makes them feel. And if their carreer does not make them happy or they made a mistake along their path, I would like to benefit from this advice. My professor gave me some amazing advice this week and help re-orient my focus when it comes to applications. In the process, she also gave me three contacts to branch off and talk to. I feel like I am slowly building a network. 

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