Global Policy Studies (LBJ School) Graduate Student Miha Vindis
It is a privilege to work with the next generation of potential graduate students. These are some of the likely future leaders, be it in academia or in practice, and having the opportunity to help them focus their interests is a very productive task. My mentee and I spent considerable time discussing graduate schools, specializations, employment opportunities, the value of experience and various academic issues. I could see how my advice was helping Briar identify opportunities and then tackle them. This was very rewarding, especially for someone who aspires to be a professor. I believe that educating the next generation is the most vital task we can perform -in formal and informal settings.
Briar and I approached this exercise in a structured way. We first outlined the goals and then made a schedule to meet them. For example, we identified classes which he would find interesting and professors who would be good references. We also looked at career events and guest speakers at LBJ which could be relevant. Briar joined a number of these events and was able to make useful contacts; we both agreed that this is a useful activity and one that other mentors should guide their mentees to.
Briar also asked me to give him advice on his thesis. We discussed some parts of his work and I found his point of view refreshing. My views are certainly jaded by own experience and I enjoyed hearing a different take on some major issues. I think my insight helped him focus some of his research and he produced a good paper. I will do my best to join his class when he presents/defends it.
Other than those tasks we also found time to just hang out and talk about life. It is nice to get away from my cohort at times.