The mentorship program
Early in the Tower's history, a mentorship program for Novices and Recruits was established. Senior Members acted as guides to the Junior Members and helped them find their way through the Tower. Though much of the mentorship program has changed, the basic principles behind it have stayed the same.
Upon entering the Tower, Novices and Recruits will be asked to fill out a questionnaire that is then used to match them with a mentor who has similar goals. This relationship is used differently by everyone, but it is primarily a relationship of usefulness. Mentors are there to answer procedural questions, listen to concerns, and offer advice. They also should know their mentees well enough that they can provide a recommendation as to whether or not their mentees are ready to become Accepted/Soldiers. This relationship changes somewhat as the mentee progresses in maturity and knowledge of the Tower, but it can be incredibly useful for those who are conflicted over which Ajah/Company to join.
Due to the transient nature of much of our citizenship, there is no formal mentorship program for citizens. However, occasionally a Senior Member will take a citizen under his/her wing. This is in no way a formal relationship and has little to no bearing on a person's travels through the Tower.
Having a mentor
Once you become a Novice/Recruit, the Master/Mistress of Novices and Recruits will welcome you with a thread in their Office. Included in the welcome thread is the mentee questionnaire. Your administrator will then use this questionnaire to pair you with a mentor who best suits your personality and tastes. This process may take up to two weeks; if two weeks have passed after you have answered the questionnaire, please contact your Community Membership administrator. Typically, a novice or recruit is given two mentors, one from each path, to give them a wider range of knowledge to draw from as they integrate themselves further into the Tower.
Mentors are useful in a variety of ways. If you have random questions about the Tower or how things work or who the administrators are, your mentor is the first person you should ask. If you have an issue with another member, mentors will often know how to handle things. If you have concerns or uncertainties about which Ajah/Company you want to join, they'll offer another perspective. They give references for you when you are ready to progress to Accepted/Soldier.
The relationship really depends upon you and your mentor. Some Junior Members need a more constant presence, and others need someone who's hands off.
Being a mentor
There are many types of mentors. Some enjoy constant interactivity with their mentees. Others prefer to just be there if a question arises. If one volunteers to be a mentor, one must keep in mind that no matter what type of mentee you like, each mentee does take up some time.
Mentors are there for many different reasons. They are there to help ease the transition between the City and the Tower. Some Community Members find that they don't like the restrictions associated with being in the Tower, and mentors can help with that frustration. Mentors are there to answer any questions about people or processes that their mentees may have. They help their mentees figure out where their home is once they've entered the guesting system as Accepted/Soldiers. They provide emotional support if necessary; some mentors end up being great friends with their mentees.
Mentors also provide references for their mentees when the mentees are up for raising to Accepted/Soldier. The relationships are as different as the people involved in them, and many mentors/mentees aren't exceptionally close, but you should know your mentee well enough that you are able to and feel comfortable writing a recommendation when it is time for them to be placed before the Hall. Bear in mind that the more information you can give the Hall about your mentee, the easier it will be for them to make a decision.
All of these different duties require that you have the time, energy, and patience to devote to mentees. You also should have a good working knowing of the Code of Conduct, the Membership Manual, and our forums, and you should be able to answer questions about how our community functions.
To become a mentor, you need to fill out the mentor's questionaire and let the Master/Mistress of Novices and Recruits know that you are interested in becoming a mentor. Should you at any point realize that you do not have the time or energy to have mentees anymore, you should contact the Master/Mistress of Novices and Recruits and let him/her know that you should not be assigned any more mentees.
My mentor has disappeared! What do I do?
If your mentor is on a leave of absence or has just disappeared, and you have had no contact with him/her for a while, please contact your Community Membership administrator and explain the situation. Often your administrator will assign you another mentor. If you are ready to be raised, your administrator will ask someone else who knows you well to write a reference, and all will be well. This does not look badly upon you or hurt your chances at being raised, so please don't hesitate to talk to your administrator if this situation has occurred!