In 2011, Diana Berlin launched a digital mentoring movement.
She called it /mentoring — as in, yourwebsite.com/mentoring — and she hoped that, one day, it might become as common to every site as an About page.
“Anyone can be a part of /mentoring,” she writes. “All it takes is a few lines of text on your own website, blog, or other profile, expressing your openness to mentoring and offering a specific invitation to get in touch.”
While I’ve benefitted from many wonderful and transformative experiences over the years, it’s not an exaggeration to say that very few of these experiences would have come about were it not for the people who guided, supported, questioned, and encouraged me along the way.
In an effort to pay that forward, I’d love to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s interested in pursuing a similar path. If that’s you, please don’t hesitate to send me an email with any questions you may have.
Topics might include:
– Walking away from a path that’s no longer working for you. I left business school more than two years into a four-year degree, decided to study something completely different, and to this day have never once felt as though I made the wrong decision.
– Deciding to go to grad school, apply for funding, pursue a career in academia, or leave academia for a career in industry. To-date, I’ve been offered over $125,000 USD in funding for my research from several of the top universities in Canada, the US, and the UK; served on the editorial board of an academic journal; worked frequently as a research associate; published a peer-reviewed paper; taught classes at the university level, both to undergraduate and graduate students; presented at conferences and colloquia; served on academic panels and committees; and produced three successful, federally funded grant applications. My experiences, moreover, extend from the social sciences and humanities to STEM fields.
– The value of long-term solo travel and/or studying abroad. I’ve studied in four different languages at nearly half a dozen post-secondary institutions around the world. The two summers I spent living in Montreal prior to moving there for grad school provided me with some of the most formative experiences of my life, and the travelling I’ve done since then has been no exception. After moving across the country for my Master’s degree, I’m now pursuing doctoral work as an international student in the US.
– Navigating a cross-disciplinary career change. Despite earning offers of admission to some of the top PhD programs in English literature, I chose instead to take a gap year after completing my Master’s degree at McGill University and to apply to a new set of PhD programs in an entirely different discipline. Today, I’m earning a PhD in Information Science and pursuing a career in STEM as a data scientist.
– Maintaining a successful and long-running newsletter. I launched The Sunday Letters in May of 2016. Since then, it has grown to become a newsletter enjoyed by thousands of readers in over 42 countries around the world.
Start by telling me a little bit about yourself, and then let me know how I can be of help. You can get in touch with me directly via mailroom [at] jcontd.com.
I’ll respond to each of the /mentoring emails I receive within two weeks. ♥
Spreading the word
Unfortunately, the official /mentoring movement came to an end shortly after it began. Only a handful of pages remain today.
For those interested in launching their own /mentoring pages, I’ve included some of the most helpful resources I used when developing my page below.
From what I can tell, the /mentoring movement was very much an open-source community, and it is in this same spirit of openness that I’ll be taking part myself. Please feel free to use and/or modify the information on this page for other /mentoring pages as you see fit.
“The purpose of /mentoring is to get people to essentially hang their sign out that they are open to mentoring. No need to wonder or ask, they’re announcing to the world that they are willing to help others and will provide their time and thoughts to those who seek guidance in the areas that the mentor has established they have experience in.” – Roz Duffy