Stanford Biology Professor Patricia Jones with student

Mentoring After You Have Chosen a Lab

After you join your thesis lab, your PI becomes your primary advisor and mentor. No advisor is perfect—nor is any student—so you need to be proactive in asking for and seeking out the advice that you need. You also need to sort through the advice that you get.

Successful mentoring relationships contribute to the creation of a stimulating environment and a dynamic of reciprocity that facilitates the personal and professional development of the faculty member and the student alike. A proactive approach is necessary. If your advisor is not looking after you in the way you need, then you need to look after them. One of the secrets of looking after your advisor is working out what your advisor wants—and what most advisors want is a student who comes to them with suggestions and solutions as well as problems, who gets things done, and who ultimately makes the job of advising easier. In business this is called "managing up."

Here are some great mentoring workshops offered to Biosciences students:

  • "Managing Up" or How to Make the Most of the Student/Advisor Relationship
    Brought to you by the Office of Graduate Education—Programs & Diversity
  • Management Matters
    Managing people can be the most stressful part of any job but, if done well, can also be one of the most rewarding. Whether you are managing "up" (e.g., working effectively with your thesis advisor or future boss), "across" (with current and future coworkers), or "down" (with people whom you directly supervise), the challenges can be enormous. This workshop sequence focuses on simple principles and guidelines that, once learned, can make the process of managing others enjoyable and effective.
  • Setting Expectations and Communicating Effectively with Your Advisor
    Tailored specifically to doctoral students in the early years of their program, this workshop addresses the student-faculty advisor relationship. You will learn negotiation and communication skills that will help you work effectively with your advisor.

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