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Student Advice & Resources

Maintaining the Mentorship Relationship

To help maintain a positive working relationship with your mentor, considering the following tips for effectively communicating as the term or summer UROP progresses.

  • Meet regularly whether in person, via video chat, etc. Ask your mentor to help streamline meetings by clearly defining what they expect you to accomplish/discuss in a given meeting and what you might do to prepare. Even when working remotely, setting a schedule for regular meetings is an important way to stay connected, check-in on progress (or lack thereof), brainstorm solutions, give/receive feedback, and maintain effective communication.
  • Ask for active feedback on your research progress and check in regularly about additional guidance or resources you might need from your mentor. Consider asking for a more formal meeting the mid-point in the term or summer to evaluate each other and discuss progress to date, contributions, and what you may need from your mentor/research guide. Discuss options to adjust plans as needed based on shifts in your interests, skills, and project developments.
  • Ask to be involved in group meetings (when possible) so that you can get a sense of the overall research environment of your lab and your role within it. Group meetings are also a great way for you to connect with the faculty advisor and interface with the other researchers in the lab.
  • Ask your mentor to share their experiences, knowledge & advice. Do you have questions about grad school, classes, other research in the lab/field? Your mentor may have advice to share, even if they are not be able to offer advice related to all of your questions, they should be supportive & open to dialog. 
  • Should problems arise, seek advice. If research does not progress as expected or your mentor is not providing the guidance or research challenges you hoped for – consult UROP staff (urop@mit.edu), earlier rather than later. Delaying a conversation about issues can be frustrating for all involved and if there are other factors at play that warrant additional resources and support – UROP staff can help you navigate challenging conversations or make referrals to other resources. Sign-up for our virtual UROP staff office hours held every Wednesday, 3-4PM EST or email us for a one-on-one virtual appointment.