At the Clinical Psychology Unit, mentoring takes place daily. I think that the relationship between the supervisor and his/her student is a form of mentoring. Typically, the student has chosen to work with a specific supervisor because they have similar research interests and so there is a commonality between them from the start. Most of the time this mentoring occurs during meetings, when the supervisor advises the student on what to look for or what to work on and the student asks questions to the supervisor. That type of mentoring can be seen as formal. However, informally, mentoring occurs on lunch and snack breaks. I often think that the conversations I witnessed at lunch and snack breaks were more of an informal mentoring. Rather than having a specific agenda, the environment was more relaxed however, the conversation topics seemed to shift towards the students or supervisors research.
During my time in Sydney, I have found a few great mentors. Imogen, the PhD student has been my biggest mentor throughout my internship. Although she is only a few years older than me, she has given me many opportunities and lots of helpful advice that I will take with me as I start to think about life after undergrad. As a mentor, Imogen has been especially helpful because of the way she presents herself – she is not intimidating and although it is obvious she is extremely intelligent, she does not come off over confident. She makes me feel comfortable to ask her questions and has created a hardworking yet fun and relaxed work environment. It is obvious that Imogen has worked extremely hard to get to the place where she is today, receiving her PhD in Clinical Psychology. Though most of our time is spent inside the office, Imogen and I often take lunch breaks together where we are able to talk more casually versus when we are in the office discussing her research. It is clear that she is very willing to share her skills and expertise with me and guides me through the research processes, even if it takes me a few times to understand the concept or gist of what we are doing on a certain day/week. She has created an organized plan that helps me stay focused each week while also looking at the end goal and takes a personal interest in not only my work but also my goals in the future. In order to follow in the career path as Imogen, I would need to get accepted into a PhD program in Clinical Psychology and start making connections as soon as possible with supervisors who have similar research interests to my own. Additionally, I would need to perform extremely well on the GRE to be a competitive applicant as the Clinical Psychology programs are highly selective.