In my first few years of law I always snubbed the idea of finding a mentor or joining a peer mentoring group. I wasn’t struggling academically, so what would I need a mentor for?
It seems that I am not the only law student under this false impression. I think that we’re so adamant about proving our independence that sometimes we’re afraid to ask for help, even when we really need it.
I’m now in my final year and have been working as a peer mentor to first year law students. I now appreciate how truly valuable mentoring programs are. Here are a few reasons why you should find a mentor or join a mentoring group during your degree…
1. Getting helpful advice
Mentors, whether they are older law students or practising lawyers, have gone through the ups and downs of a law degree and through these experiences are in a position to help you with your decision making. Whether it’s providing advice on how to approach a torts exam problem or how to structure your CV for a clerkship, getting advice from a mentor will help you to tackle your next legal challenge.
2. Finding a solid support network
Joining a mentoring program also provides you with access to a fantastic support network. Mentors are great to have because they are always there to remind you that a bad assignment mark or missing out on that job you wanted isn’t the end of the world.
We’ve all had a crisis moment during our degrees, and while Googling inspirational quotes may help every now and then, having a real life human to talk to is definitely better.
3. Building valuable skills
Being involved in a mentoring group may also prove to be valuable for building your communication and teamwork skills. Such skills will help you to make friends, to do well in group work assignments, and are especially important in the workplace. Being able to communicate effectively and work well with others is crucial to a successful legal career, and there’s no better place to build these skills than in a comfortable environment like a mentoring group.
4. Invaluable memories
Although I didn’t join a mentoring program at the beginning of my law degree, I have very fond memories of my work as a mentor, in particular, seeing how much my mentees also enjoyed their mentoring groups.
Joining a mentoring program not only helps you stay sane throughout your law degree, but it can also build life-long friendships and connections and will provide you with some of your most cherished memories of law school.
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