1. Make sure that the email address you use is the one where you would like a member of the SMA to contact you about potential mentor matches. There may be a lot of requests. If you decide to use an alternate email address to keep the mentee requests separate from your personal life, check that email address regularly.
2. If they are contacting you for a school project, do not spend your time composing a long wonderful essay answering their questions(s). Your long wonderful answer will be copied and pasted right into their work. If you really want to help them, arrange for them to interview you via Skype or phone. It is their job to generate questions and write down your answers, and then compose THEIR homework. Be helpful, but don’t do their work for them.
3. Mentoring can in some cases, be a long term project. This can be a range of time from a few emails, meetings to a life long relationship. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have!
4. You don’t have to solve ALL the mentee’s problems for them or answer all their questions. Mentoring is an opportunity to help them find the resources, external or internal, to assist them in solving their own problems and answering their own questions. Give them options and choices.
5. If you are not the right person to help them, or if you know that someone else will have a solution you cannot provide (or a contrasting point of view) ask that person (another mentor here, perhaps) whether you can forward the mentee on to them for advice. None of us know everything, nor should we pretend to. Please write to the committee via the website and we can pair this person with someone else.