Find Mentors

            The “Find Mentors” learning pattern from the Apprenticeship Patterns book is one that I definitely should have focused on earlier. This pattern is focused on find more experienced developers around you early and leveraging their knowledge and practice to take steps forward in your apprenticeship. Keeping with the master craftsman and apprentice theme, no apprentice will learn as effectively without someone to help them along their way and point out the unknown unknowns. The pattern recommends reaching out early and often. The only downside is rejection, which is easy to get over, especially if it is followed by acceptance at some point.

            In my computer science journey, I need to take this message to heart. Oftentimes, I try to do most of my learning on my own. I know I can have a kind of unorthodox way of teaching myself things, so I usually try to stick to myself when learning. I do quite often leverage the help/advice of peers though. Most of the people I’ve become closer with in the WSU computer science program I have worked closely with and either have some knowledge to gain from them or have some to share. While I realize working with peers is great, I definitely have fallen short on the front of getting help from those who are leagues ahead of me, like my professors. Looking back, I definitely should have attended more office hours and been in closer contact with my professors and advisors. That’s a goal I have for grad school, especially since I hope to be working as a research assistant, so this would be perfect.

            As the pattern mentions, it is difficult to get over the awkwardness of asking someone to mentor you. I’m not really sure how or who to reach out to in a professional setting, and I’m also not sure of what I would be looking for from a mentor. Although mentoring in school is great, it would probably be quite different than mentoring in a workplace. This is something I should look further into. Who can I reach out to as a mentor and what should I be looking to gain from them? If I can get the answers to questions like these, I think I would feel more comfortable filling the apprentice role.

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