Yeah, why not?
We have been struggling with this baffling issue: what is the right kind of mentoring? How should we actually do that job: mentoring?
Came an answer from a casual conversation with a colleague: disband the current mentoring, and let students naturally find a lecturer/staff member that they respect, look up to as role-models, and is close enough to confide in.
Yeah, that is an excellent idea. Hey, to tell you the truth, my formal mentoring group has simply ceased functioning. Except for one mentee who is now very close to me, the rest are becoming strangers to me, and I hardly know them anymore! Arranged mentoring simply fails miserably. On the other hand, a few young people who are formally not listed as my mentees have developed close bonds with me and learned quite a few lessons about life, about writing, about research, about studies, and many others. Natural mentoring where people find us and begin looking up to us for guidance probably works better, and happier, too, for both sides.
“How’s your mentoring group?” I asked one colleague.
“Oh, . . . I dont know. They dont know, I dont know. Maybe they dont care, and neither do I”
I was stunned.
“Hey, look!” the person snapped. “I’m so busy these days. Sorry, but mentees are not in my top priority. Hey, look, I’m very damned busy. I know this is bad, but well, what the heck. Sorry, gotta go now.”