You are not using a standards compliant browser. Because of this you may notice minor glitches in the rendering of this page. Please upgrade to a compliant browser for optimal viewing:
Internet Explorer 7
Safari (Mac and PC)
Post Archive
2020 (0)2012 (3)2011 (73)
December (1)

Robot Insects
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
November (6)October (5)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women's Intuition
Friday, October 21, 2011

Thinking with your Fingers
Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Souls and Confections...?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
September (7)

On Souls...?
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beware the False Consensus Effect!
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your Preferences - Preliminary Results
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Popularity Survey - DO IT FOR SCIENCE!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zietsch's Response to PZ, Laden and Scicurious.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Personality of Cities
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Discussion #1 - Walking Speed and City Size
Sunday, September 4, 2011
August (6)

People who Doodle Learn Faster = Bullshit
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good News Everyone!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Got the Time? Part II
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Got the time?
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can Randomness Predict the Future?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The House of Psycasm
Sunday, August 7, 2011
July (7)June (6)May (8)

Part 1: Do We Have Freewill?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Open Letter: A follow-up
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is a lie, she said.
Sunday, May 22, 2011

MSPaint is mightier than the Sword
Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Art of Indecision
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Skeptical Checklist 1.1
Friday, May 13, 2011

The Skeptical Checklist 1.0
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Of Chimps, Children and Post-Grads...
Monday, May 2, 2011
April (5)March (5)February (7)January (10)

Magical Thinking: Voodoo, Prayer, Black Cats, and You
Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Art of Character Creation
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video Game Morality: Actions inside the box?
Friday, January 21, 2011

Psychobabble goes live!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Trolley Problem: Who cares?
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Podcast delay and misc. Drugs!?
Saturday, January 15, 2011

My very own Natural Disaster
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A window into your Genetics and Mate Preference?
Sunday, January 9, 2011

Oh sorry, I totally phased out there...
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Porn: A force of Mutual Benefits
Sunday, January 2, 2011
2010 (35)
December (7)

Statistical Pwnage
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why you should care...
Thursday, December 16, 2010

The paper of Influence
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharing: Part I - Emotions
Sunday, December 12, 2010

No-one cuts deeper than a Science Blogger.
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me Meme [Ohh, links now]
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Half Full, or Half Empty? Well, That Depends on the Shape of the Glass.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
November (11)

What Your Voice Says About You
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babushka Blog: A Meta-Blog on ResearchBlogging.
Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Announcement:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Willful Self-Deception is Bliss
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dance, Blogger, Dance!
Friday, November 19, 2010

The Science of Marriage
Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Moon and Antarctica
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Available: One Mentee. Good Condition.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Again we are limited by our puny human-ness
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging Carnival - What is Psychopathology?: Origins
Friday, November 5, 2010

*sigh* Psi: A Rebuttal
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October (12)

The Science of Mind-Reading
Thursday, October 28, 2010

How not to think yourself smart...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome to Assassins' League
Sunday, October 24, 2010

TODO LATER. A story of procrastination and forgiveness.
Thursday, October 21, 2010

A man and his words.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Little kids, little minds...
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smoking (maybemightcould) is Good.
Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to stop the Apocalpyse
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to trick yourself creative
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Siesta - It sounds like Fiesta, but isn't.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dread Pirate Rift
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being Blonde. Natural or otherwise...
Sunday, October 3, 2010
September (5)
Rate This Post
Total votes: 0
Blogger Profile


Psycasm is the exploration of the world psychological. Every day phenomenon explained and manipulated to one's own advantage. Written by a slightly overambitious undergrad, Psycasm aims at exploring a whole range of social and cognitive processes in order to best understand how our minds, and those mechanisms that drive them, work.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

Post Tags

Blog RSS Feed
RSS Add to My Yahoo Add to Google
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

As a kid people would ask (adults, mostly) who is your hero?

All the little boys would name some rugby player, and all the little girls would name some actress. Some of them might name a dancer, if they were into that kind of thing.

I played sport, I played music, I had access to the opportunity to form an opinion toward some target of admiration. I just never did. I never saw the point. Not in a "I'm going to be independent" kind of way, I just didn't; it kind of made me sad that I didn't have a hero and everyone else did.

In some sense I think that’s what a mentor is, for a child. Again, as a teenager and a growing adult I never really had a mentor either. I’m not sure why – I even signed up for a mentor programme. I’m not sure if it was my ‘mentor’s’ failing, my own, or the programme’s, but I never got much out of that.

Perhaps I’m defining ‘mentor’ in a fashion too rigid. I imagine a mentor-relationship to be 2-way street. I, the underling, working under the benevolent gaze of a wizened mind, knowing that even if I make a mistake I will not be reprimanded, but will be encouraged to learn from the experience. I imagine the relationship not to be too stressful, because the mentor should be able to handle it all. I don’t know if that's what a mentor is, if that’s what anyone thinks a mentor is (except maybe Harry Potter*), but I’ve never had it. I

 have had two separate things though, which might qualify. One was the conspiring of circumstance, and the other was of my own device.

The first is my Taekwondo-Do instructor. I come from a fairly formal organization, where etiquettes and ranks are observed. I try to be an exemplar of such things, and in a fashion, so too does my instructor (a well respected and relatively senior member of the organization). My instructor is an extremely intelligent man (A PhD in Robotics, no less), and is not afraid to disagree with me (or I with him) on a number of topics. It’s not a particularly close relationship, and is bound in a degree of formality, but he checks in often enough to know exactly when I might need attention. Be it in my training and commitment, or in my personal/professional life. I’m not sure he’s a mentor, but he’s definitely someone I respect a great deal and will seriously consider their opinion when it’s offered.

The second is a relationship of my own work. Well, a relationship might be too much? I don’t know. Again, this all comes back to previous posts – how I’m approaching my education and professional prospects. Making myself indispensible. This is definitely not a stress-free relationship, it’s hard work, and I’m not in a position to accept it as a 2-way thing. I choose someone who’s doing something I want to do, then try to help. At the moment I’m a volunteer RA and doing some really interesting research. But I’m not an honours student, it’s all on my own time, it’s all of my own learning (I don’t have the same education as a graduate), and it’s all up to me to balance it. It’s hard. If I was an honour student it would be easy [easier?] – I’d have the knowledge that even if I F’ed-up, I’d still be their responsibility, as it were. As a volunteer RA I have the feeling I have to keep up or beat it. I stand to gain the most in the relationship, while the more senior member could replace me with another monkey to do the same work at short notice. It’s not easy, but it is exciting and rewarding. The ever present inferiority complex makes it so in the first instance, and my delusions of ambition make it so in the second. It’s not a mentorship, and it’s not a hero. I’m not sure what it is. It’s an opportunity perhaps.

But what I look for in someone in that position is someone I would like to be. Perhaps to accomplish above and beyond what they have. And in many respects achieve as they have as a person, and not necessarily as a professional. I hope I’m working towards something like that. It’s hard to know – only time will prove it out.

So I don’t know if I have, or have ever had, a mentor. In some ways it seems a luxury. I’m just hoping hard-work will save the day.

Or maybe that’s just a rationalization. Who knows?


*How I loathe Harry Potter. Colour me a death-eater if it means I can kill that whiny tool…

This post has been viewed: 509 time(s)

Blog Comments

Prabodh Kandala
Texas Tech University Health Science Center
Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike

"working under the benevolent gaze of a wizened mind, knowing that even if I make a mistake I will not be reprimanded, but will be encouraged to learn from the experience."

This is what exactly I am under. My first 15 months were horrible. My mentor had high expectations on me because of my previous profile, but my productivity was very less unlike my post docs. Obviously.

But, I am his first graduate student and he initially expected me to catch the pace of post docs.

My PI was patient enough, to give me enough time to learn.  I am pretty sure, he is a happy man now.


Guest Comment

I actually just wrote a similar post. Though I think I called them role models ( ).

My experience was similar to yours. I had no idea how to answer that question as a kid. I think I'd just name the author of whatever book I'd just read (often Beverly Cleary).  Even now it's difficult to name one person. I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing. There have always been a few people I'd consider good at giving advice. That may be more useful than one specific mentor.

Add Comment?
Comments are closed 2 weeks after initial post.