From a mentor:
"[I]t has been a pleasure to talk, both about philosophy and about learning in general, with a student who is intelligent and engaged. At first I did not know how my interactions with my mentee would be different in character from my interactions with students as a TA. But it seems to me now that the mentor/mentee relationship does have a different character and that this kind of interaction might be worthwhile for the mentee (I hope)."
I honestly don't know how to qualify what the 'most' helpful thing was about meeting with my mentor - and that's because everything was helpful. As a transfer student, I had absolutely no idea what I was going into, much less what something like 'research' meant. Through my mentor's guidance and clarification of things, I definitely stopped feeling like I had no idea what I was doing all the time. I would say I now only frequently have no idea what I am doing.
I'm really grateful for this program's existence - without it, I wouldn't be applying to grad school this fall with a fantastic writing sample, letters of rec, and research experience. That's because my mentor encouraged me to maintain resiliency in pursuing my goals, and it is because of her I can in good faith pursue philosophy professionally in the future.