What a great thing to have! Someone you look up to and admire as a scientist and who gives you support and the time of day when you are just a little upstart. I was lucky enough to come by one when I was in search of a masters project and am so very glad that I found them. They have guided me, given me great advice and helped me out when I couldn’t see the next step. You can ask them the tough questions, the “stupid”* questions, the what would you do questions! Your own personal Chuck Norris! In return, you will hopefully help them out being a research or field assistant and doing the grunt work that helps you learn. Mine put me in touch with some amazing researchers, brought me in to help on some excellent research, introduced me to acoustics and helped me get the most out of my masters degree. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and their support of a marine mammal loving British girl who contacted them out of the (deep) blue.
What am I trying to say here? If you are lucky enough to have another scientist or scientists in your life who you admire and has the time to give to you please, please embrace it. The scientific world out there is a mighty tough one at times and every little bit of advice, an introduction or a question answered is a big help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your peers and more experienced colleagues they were probably just like you once and may have some brilliant tips to pass along.
There is no way I would be where I am today without the belief, encouragement and help of those experienced scientists who took time out of their busy schedule to advise and guide me. So if you have that be thankful, nurture the relationships, embrace what they may throw at you and needless to say work hard as what they have to offer may just be invaluable, unmeasurable and just what you need.
In a small act of thanks to those first mentors check out my post next week on how we can help out the amazing scientists at Oceans Initiative with their brilliant and innovative marine conservation work before the year is out.
*There are no stupid questions. Though try to phrase them eloquently and do your research first.