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Ladymia69's avatar

How does one find a mentor in their chosen field?

Asked by Ladymia69 (6881points) January 23rd, 2011

I used to fancy myself independent and autodidactic, and I am for the most part. But I have become rather frozen and without a sense of direction over the past few years, and feel like I cannot do it on my own anymore. I have a lot of trouble letting myself receive help, for one, so this is hard for me.

I would love to find a mentor, someone who I could look up to but not be envious of, who would help me find a direction for my talents (singing, writing, art) and accept me for who I am, and just generally encourage and motivate me. But how does one find a mentor? I have no idea. And I have very limited income, so paying for one is a problem. Are there websites or resources for finding one? I am rather hermit-like and don’t go out much, so I don’t like the idea of stalking out “the scene” here in Charleston to find someone. Any advice is helpful.

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6 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think a mentor is something you can find sitting beside the warmth of your fire. You will have to go out. You will have to scope out the scene. You will have to participate in some group activities and be prepared to keep trying new things until you meet your mentor.

Or, if you identify someone you really want to learn from, you can start asking them to help you via the internet.

So, two ways. One, try a lot of stuff. Two, research your target and then pester them until they agree to work with you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, in the midst of figuring out what I want to study for my PhD, I was reading a couple of books on a subject that I was really interested in. I kept talking about the author of one of the books and randomly discovered that she is my boss’s girlfriend (I have 2 bosses, this one I don’t usually interact with) and so we were introduced to one another and I invited her to come speak at an event I was organizing for an collective I co-steer and then we began exchanging emails and are planning to meet and talk about my directions. In terms of other people, I’d find authors again that I was interested in and google them and send them an email and see what comes of it. You can also go to conferences around what you’re interested in and you’ll find someone whose work speaks to you and tell them so after and get their information.

Bellatrix's avatar

Simone is spot on. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you feel are on the same wavelength as you. Ask them questions, connect, show your interest in their work. People generally love to help and if a person you think might be right isn’t interested, then they just aren’t the right person. I think if you show a sincere passion for something they are passionate about, only positive can result. If you want to connect with writers, go to places writers frequent. Join writing groups, go to art exhibitions, start to research what is on in the fields you are interested in. Often bookshops will have sessions with authors you can attend for nothing. Not everything costs money. Check if people you are interested in have websites, blogs or Twitter or Facebook accounts too. That may offer you a less formal way to contact them. Good luck.

john65pennington's avatar

After a police rookie graduates from the police academy, they are required to ride six months with an older, experienced officer. This continues, until the training officer is convinced the rookie can make it on his own. I was a Field Training Officer for many years. I guess you might say I was a mentor for these men and women. Most made it, some did not.

Until the day I retired, some of the rookies I trained were still coming to me for advice. This appears to be an answer you are looking for.

Here is my suggestion: singing and music are your selected fields, so go on a website and attempt to locate an older artist that is still alive. Chances are, they are retired and would love to give you advice and direction. This will be work on your part, since most of these artists are well-hidden throughout the country. Be a detective and let your curiosity prevail. never give up.

Ladymia69's avatar

Thanks so much everyone! All great answers! Some of you have just given me the nudge to go ahead and do what I was subconsciously planning anyway!

SkulpTor's avatar

Go to gallery openings and mingle with the artists there, go to book signings and hang out and strike up a convo with the author, and see local shows that feature you style of music and hang out to see if you can strike up conversation with the singer. All of those offer opportunities to “find” your mentor. My girlfriend found her mentor on line by following a blog of an artist that she adores. Good luck.

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