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Mentoring Manual

How to plan and map your own progress

It is common in a field placement to have an inadequate assessment of one’s own progress. Some of this is because the experience is not structured like a formal course where you have a syllabus, with homework and exams to track your progress and a research environment that may be new to you.

Tracking your progress can help you see what you have accomplished. This can help your self-confidence and also provide a basis for your discussions with mentors.

Mapping your progress should always look forward and backward. Each week, before meeting with your mentors, look back to what you have accomplished in the past one or two weeks and then think forward to plan what you would like to accomplish in the upcoming weeksRequest future reference letters. Each week you will be updating both the forward and backward view. The point is not to exactly predict the future or exactly follow a list of work tasks. These are points in time for you to reassess where you are progressing and also to provide a good basis for a discussion with your mentor on the work to be done.

Write this in a document. It can be a document with ongoing revisions or a new document for each week. As you document your accomplishments, you are simultaneously developing a base of information for presentations and reports.

When planning future work, be sure to write down each task and what goals or objective the task serves . This can be very helpful when looking back at the work that has been completed.

The act of mapping out your progress and plans will help you organize your thoughts. So even if not requested by a mentor or program, these may be documents that you keep for yourself as a reference for future work.

Talk to your mentors about how they document their project progress. They often have large and very complex projects that they are managing.


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