Mentoring the world

The ultimate degree that makes one`s future look the brightest: PhD. Yes, under a lower unemployment rate, those doing their PhDs always publish papers, sometimes write a book, but rarely become famous, and never… Is there anything you imagine that Ph.D.s never do? Not really. So, they also do regular stuff and have their own fallacies like the rest of the society. Their difference lies in their higher academic achievements, which, I believe, are motivated by their mentors.

Let’s take a look at the life of someone doing PhD. It is a good life, at least for the first three years of PhD. Getting a great education is like winning the Powerball. You enroll in a Ph.D. program, start working on important projects, and think of making a difference. However, you also sweat over a single topic for a long time, listening to your advisor, feeling unlucky and constrained by the circumstances. This is the opposite of what many would believe lucky people’s lives look like. Richard Wiseman claims that lucky people are those who maximize their chances, rely on their intuition, think they are indeed lucky, and know how to turn bad luck into good luck. Therefore, my question is whether or not Ph.D.s are unlucky people living a good life. And, if our answer is: Yes, they are, I believe it is the educators who impose this life on them due to the educational system.

This brings us to the master-apprentice type of education. Many masters (advisors or professors) take for granted the survivor of the fittest approach in science and, therefore, they neglect their main role of being a mentor. Ken Robinson describes mentoring as recognizing, encouraging, facilitating, and stretching. Accordingly, research should be interest-driven and should not be an imposed fixed topic. Professors should help students develop a vision, aim high, and cultivate the habit of hard work. The educational environment should promote sharing and be more tolerant of possible failures. The governing idea should be that we can extend our capabilities and achieve no matter what. Do you think, however, that this is the current practice? I can almost hear you saying “no.”

Even the most prominent professors do a poor job in mentoring the best students of the world. Most of these successful young people do not even get close to realizing their full potential. They use their talents only partially to make money for living. So, if we cannot educate a handful of top-of-the-cream students, how are we supposed to educate others and help them reach their full potentials? The solution is good mentoring. Your mentor can upgrade you to the class of the lucky by providing helpful guidance and motivation. Human brain is capable of handling much more than we imagine. For this reason, we must seek good mentoring that can transform us into independent, self-motivated, and creative individuals.


Posted 28th January 2013 by Ozgur Keles

Categories: Uncategorized