I am a first-year PhD student. My lab is very small and quite disconnected in terms of research from other groups in my department (we're interdisciplinary, the other groups are not)
There are some postdocs from other institutions that I often email/Zoom for advice, but only if I have a fairly specific question. Other than that, I don't have a "mentor" (see this related question https://academia.stackexchange.com/a/132263/131374 ).
Of course, my PhD supervisor does provide advice, but I would like to have an academic mentor, beyond them. Perhaps outside of my subfield, I'm thinking some of the professors from my department whose classes I've taken. I think I'd find it useful to get impartial advice and it'd also allow me to be more honest.
Is there an etiquette for asking someone to mentor you? Can I just cold-email them? if so, what do I say? Should I stick with the postdocs and not bother the professors?
why do (busy) academics mentor younger researchers? Why should they mentor me, and not someone else? Of course, I've seen some people listing "mentor for X" in their CV, but I'd bet that's not the reason they do it.