WHAT EXACTLY IS a mentor? Because mentor is often used loosely to refer to various learning relationships, it is important as you set out on your path as a mentee to understand just what mentoring is and what it isn’t. We can gain some insight by considering the origins of the word. Mentor is a Greek word stemming from the name of a character in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor was an elderly man, whom Odysseus asked to watch over his son Telemachus when Odysseus set off to fight in the Trojan War. We don’t know much about the interactions between Mentor and Telemachus; few conversations are recounted in the story. But at one point the goddess Athena takes the form of Mentor and guides Telemachus in ...

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