I need a mentor

National Blog Posting Month – March 2013 – Risk

Prompt – Who out there in the world would be the best mentor for your ideas and goals?


Mentors are important. They give you direction and pep talks when you need them, and let you out on your own when you don’t. But a good mentor is hard to find. There isn’t one specific person who could be the perfect mentor for me. That said, I’ve had lots of good mentors over the years. And the thing with mentors is that they support you when you need it, and then you move on.

I’ve had some great academic mentors. My Ph.D. advisor, Jay Lillegraven, nudged me frequently in the right direction, realizing even before I really did that I had a great passion for geochemistry. He put me in contact with my postdoctoral advisor, Bruce MacFadden who nudged me further and helped me realize that a traditional tenure-track professorship wasn’t for me.

I now also have a mentor for the western martial arts, Adam Adrian Crown. With him I’m learning much more about physical and mental control (in addition to learning fencing), which are skills that I know I need to improve.

What I lack right now is a good mentor for academics. I don’t have someone nudging me to keep plowing ahead, so I feel like my scientific progress is stagnating. I need someone to get on my case for not having finished those three different manuscripts that I’ve started. I also lack a mentor for writing, either fiction or non-technical science. I get some support and nudges from the Twitter community from time-to-time, which is very helpful. Both needs could potentially be met by one person, but more likely would require two different people. Such people are sorely lacking in my immediate social circle.

That’s OK. I’ll keep hanging out on Twitter. I have a few favorite writers that I keep my eyes on for encouragement and motivation. Maybe cyber-mentoring is the wave of the future. Or maybe not. But in the meantime, I have plenty to do.

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