Dr. Ruth Gotian on Mentorship and Achievement During COVID-19

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Welcome to College Admissions in the Era of COVID-19 Virtual Summit! On today’s episode, we give you a glimpse into Dr. Legatt’s conversation with Dr. Ruth Gotian.


VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. I am Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and elite admissions expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. You’re going to be hearing today from our summit speaker, and I’m so excited to share just a glimpse of the summit with you. I wanted to give you a sense of what you missed if you had to miss it and invite you to get a VIP All-Access Pass to the summit. This access pass will allow you to get full, unlimited and lifetime access to all those session recordings. This is just a clip. You’ll also have the ability to attend live Q & A session with me where I will answer your questions about college admissions right on the spot. And you’re going to also gain access to my personal Ultimate College Application Template bundle with bonus materials and that has a value of $397. So click on the show notes. Go ahead, reserve your VIP ticket so that you can gain access to the full summit experience and all its perks. See you soon. 

Since we’re at the top of the hour now, I am excited to jump right back into it and say hi to our next presenter, Dr. Ruth Gotian. Dr. Ruth, welcome! You are the chief learning officer, an assistant Professor of education in Anesthesiology and the former assistant team of mentoring and executive director of the Mentoring Academy at well, Cornell Medicine. In 2021, this year, you were named one of 30 people worldwide on Thinkers 50 Radar, which is a huge honor in the management thinking world and in the thought leadership world. And you’ve published in journals like Nature, Scientific American Academic Medicine, Forbes, and Harvard Business Review. You’re also the coeditor of a book on medical education, and you’ve won a number of mentoring awards. You have a book coming out soon, the success factor, developing the mindset and skill set for peak performance. So welcome! 

RG: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here with you. 

AL: Same here. So today we’re going to be talking about mentorship and achievement during COVID 19. I know you know all about this from your research and your work. Tell us a little bit about your philosophy on mentor. What is mentorship and what makes for a good mentoring relationship?

RG: It’s really interesting because the research shows that two-thirds of the people actually understand the benefits of mentorship, but only one-third of people actually have one. And I feel you’re never too old. You’re never too young to have one. I study extreme high achievers. I look at Nobel Prize winners and astronauts and Olympic Champions and Fortune 500 CEOs. Every single one of them without fail has had a mentor and not just one mentor. Many mentors. And they will go to someone who’s senior to them, someone who’s junior to them, someone who’s at their level, they understand that there is always something to learn from someone else, another perspective that you can learn. It’s all about these things you don’t know that you’re supposed to know. And these mentors can help, really unveil that and teach you all of those things. So a mentor is really someone who can tell you what is possible, show you what is possible, give you that push. You need to make it possible because there’s two things that a mentor can do. They can help you with your career and your academic and professional pursuits. But they also help you with the psychosocial part that emotional support that you need when you didn’t do well. You didn’t get the results that you wanted. Things didn’t happen to go as plan. They’re the ones that are really your cheerleaders and the ones that can really help you out along the way. 

AL: I completely agree. I always feel like I have something to learn from somebody no matter what their position is, no matter what their ages. Everybody knows something a little bit different, right? 

RG: Absolutely. 

AL: I also think at least growing up or coming up in the work world, I had a very set definition that I had to have one mentor, and it was I find my perfect match. I know that thinking is problematic. Can you tell me a little bit about why that’s old school, right? 

RG: That’s how it used to be. It used to be that it was someone older and wiser and usually mail and in a position of leadership, and that’s who we went to for advice. But remember that person, their perspective is based on their own experience, and that’s really not the contemporary approach. The contemporary approach is really to have a team of mentors, any professional baseball team. You have the general manager, you have the coach, but you have the first space coach. You have third base coach. You have the pitching coach that you have all these different people who are going to help you along the way because each one can give you another perspective, teach you something else, and introduce you to other people. So you really want to get a wide group of people who can help you out and really be your guide by your side. So it’s no longer about one person who’s senior to you. It’s more about having a team of people. And if you’re just a high school student right now, you don’t need to have that team right now. That team grows with you over your entire career. Start with one person, and then you build on that and build on that and build on that. And some people will leave your mentoring team, and new people will come in. It’s very fluid. Just let people in and out based on where you are, you can really just pick and choose who the mentors are. You can pick and choose where you’re going to meet with them. Just take that stress off, and you’ll see that it’ll be a much better relationship. And don’t look for perfection because perfection doesn’t exist. The way you can do is you can create your own version of perfection. Everyone has something else that they can add to the mix, right? Every person is a different spice to your cooking dish. So think about what each person can add. And together with that team is how you’ll achieve perfection.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.