I was recently asked to write a short blurb on the importance of mentorship, for mentors and mentees alike, for a local Women in Physics mentoring event next week. Here it is:

My biggest piece of advice to young people is: don’t underestimate the importance of meeting new people and developing meaningful relationships.

Getting to know people is the best way to find someone who might become your mentor. Mentors guide and support you, share their wisdom and experience, and give you insights into parts of the world you don’t yet have access to. Mentors are like secret weapons for success!

But don’t just focus on meeting people who might become your mentors.

Developing close relationships with your peers is just as important. Your peers will not only be your friends and share your experiences with you, but in a decade or two, many of them will be in influential positions (like university profs, VPs, and startup founders), and you’ll be grateful to have them as your friends!

Finally, don’t underestimate the many returns you get from being a mentor to those with less experience than you. Watching someone grow and achieve their goals, and knowing that you’ve played a part in someone’s success, is a pretty amazing feeling. It’s also educational. I’ve certainly learnt a lot from my mentees, and they’ve opened up doors for me as much as I’ve opened up doors for them.

Meeting new people and developing meaningful relationships is a recipe for a happy and fulfilling career, whether inside or outside of academia. I encourage you to make the effort, and when you do, to seek variety in the people you take the time to get to know.

Want to share your thoughts? You can join the discussion on LinkedIn.