At the beginning this year, a close co-worker of mine reached out about starting a weekly mentorship session with me. I had never had a mentor, let alone been one. I was honored that he asked me to be his mentor and happily accepted.

We set up reoccurring weekly meetings every Friday afternoon. I had no idea what to expect for our first meeting, so I told him that this time was for him to bring whatever he wanted to work on or discuss.

Most of the meetings are spent walking through code he is working on that week. Often, I watch him write the code and offer my advice and suggestions when I see something that can be improved upon. Very rarely will I be in the “driver’s seat”, which is preferred, as I believe the best way to learn is to do it yourself.

For my mentee, he is able to get a better understanding of the why behind certain design implementations. In his words, he enjoys “understanding the under-the-hood logic. Having the opportunity to learn how the dots are connected”. He asks a ton of great questions, and will have me go over things more than once so he fully understands what is going on. His desire for knowledge and improving his development skills is inspiring.

For myself, being a mentor helps improve my teaching skills. I have spent years being the student, and I will always be a lifelong student. But getting the opportunity to pass on some of the knowledge I have picked up over the years to someone else is super rewarding. I like to joke that I get more out of the mentorship sessions than my mentee, and that may just be the case. The most rewarding part about the mentorship, for me, is seeing how much my mentee has grown in just the past year. This growth isn’t all from the mentorship, of course, but having a dedicated meeting every week with him allows me to keep up-to-date with his progress.

I never would have had this experience if my co-worker hadn’t approached me with this idea. I encourage everyone at some point to either become a mentor, or seek out a mentor. Both roles offer great benefits and learning experiences. I have thoroughly enjoyed this past year and everything this mentorship has brought with it. Our mentorship is still ongoing and I can not wait to see what the future holds for it.

To my mentee and co-worker, thank you for this great opportunity!