Supervisors and Mentors

Realisations of the graduate student #29169:

In grad school, we have supervisors and we have mentors. They aren't necessarily the same people.

A supervisor ensures that you learn about your field, that you become an accountable, independent, and productive scholar, and that you disseminate your findings responsibly.

A mentor believes in you, cheers you on, reminds you of your worth, encourages your growth as a professional, is a sounding board, and uses their privilege to fight for you if and when the need arises. In return, they watch you grow. And if you're like me, they also get an endless supply of debates about various topics, like the age at which one becomes old.

If you can, find that mentor. Sometimes, it means looking outside your programme. Sometimes, it means looking outside the university. Sometimes, it means finding them online.

I've said this before: We don't talk about the (positive) relationships we have in academia much. We spend so much time stressing over our work, trying to finish and share our work (get data, publish, present), and/or the challenges in getting work done (gender bias, politics, funding, -isms, etc.). Those conversations are **very** important. But so are the people who are behind it all.

Maybe we should start talking about these relationships more.