Travelling Together: A mentee's blog
This is a blog that describes JD's journey as a mentee. JD is a counselling master's student who is preparing for the dissertation.
Our first meeting
I began the first mentoring session with Ute today with a feeling of intrigue and excitement. I knew that we would focus on working on deciding a dissertation topic, but I was a little unsure of what this would entail exactly. Ute noticed very quickly that one of my main struggles centres around my need to 'police' any ideas I have before they can be presented to the world. Although I knew already that I have this perfectionist tendency, I still couldn't shake the thought: 'what if my idea isn't good enough?' During the session with Ute, we looked at ways of getting past this to tackle the blank page that I have been facing for some time. Together we worked on a broad plan, and some of my ideas were out of my head and onto the page. Suddenly the process of finding my dissertation topic started feeling a bit more tangible and less vague. I even started feeling excited to start reading around and getting more of a feeling for what interests me the most. I liked the idea of trying to find the questions that I really want to know the answer to.
Upon reflecting on the session, I am surprised to realise how much I was holding myself back in beginning my dissertation research. I am also surprised at how quickly Ute helped me to feel more able to put down some messy marks on my blank piece of paper. Actually, the messy marks look like they can be neatened more easily than I first thought.
Our work started in setting the framework and breaking the ice. It might be difficult for a mentee to share ideas around their topic. One reason could be that we often judge ourselves and our ideas as not good enough. However, at this moment, it is important for JD to allow the ideas to come into the open so that they can grow and develop.
Our second meeting
Since our last session, I had spent some time researching different dissertation topics to see where my interests lie. It turned out I became interested in a whole new dissertation topic! I began the session today feeling like I had some idea of the question I would like to ask and the type of method I would like to use for my dissertation. In the past, I would have left the forward-thinking there and muddled through, overcoming issues and getting stuck along the way.
Talking with Ute allowed me to think more critically about my topic, allowing me to begin to create a more sound structure through exploring the different ways to ask my question and how this connects to a specific methodology. I feel less like I am jumping into the project, and more like I am cultivating an exciting idea. I again am leaving feeling more excited to continue with this journey.
JD appeared much more at ease, looking at own ideas critically. She reviewed whether the topics and research questions can be used within the context of her MA course. In other words, are the resources to "get it done" available. What are these resources? We looked, for example, at analytic paradigms and their processes, time management, population reachability.