A window inside life at Augustana College

Mentor or Friend

Can professor’s, employer’s, or administrator’s maintain a balance between their role as a facilitator or ‘boss’ and be considered a friend at the same time?

During my time studying in East Asia I have gotten to know the professor’s and the different directors a good amount. After spending weeks together with one another -students and faculty- you get to know each other in a different way than you would at a work or collegiate setting back in the States. But back to the question: Can someone be a mentor and a friend; Or would that destroy the commanding presence/authority of an advisor.

I have friends that I would consider to be mentor’s to a small degree, perhaps you look at the way someone acts in a large crowd and would like to have that presence—- so in way I view that as a small degree of mentorship, if that person agrees to help you. Then you have a professor or administrator that you have a great respect for and would like to learn his or her philosophy and way of doing things. Both are forms of a type of mentorship, but where is the line between the friend and the mentor (if there is even a line?).

From my experience in the past 6 weeks, I have learned that there are different degrees of mentors. Some mentors can be your close friends and others remain at a somewhat distance to remain the authoritative figure. The best way for a mentor to be effective is to know the boundaries between friendship and their authoritative or influencial role. Mentor’s that really stick out and have  a great impact on one’s life, our the people that can relate to others around them- providing a sense of comfort and wisdom to those they consel.

So mentor’s can be friends, but it is important to understand the similarities and differences in order to maintain a healthly relationship.

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