Being a mentor was initially nerve-wracking. Reaching out and emailing my new mentees, whilst waiting and hoping they would reply made me very on edge. Not knowing who you would be grouped with and trying to leave a good impression was stressful, but I soon came to realise how easy the role would be. I am very grateful to have been grouped with lovely, dedicated, and ambitious mentees who make my role as a mentor very rewarding and enjoyable.
One mistake I made was trying to make myself responsible for everything. It is not our role to do that! Our role is to help them make sense of university which is now more important than ever during this pandemic. Through this scheme, you are able to learn, improve and put in practice, various skills such as leadership, communication, organisation, and interpersonal skills, which can improve your employability after you graduate.
The time commitment does not impact your studies. With only 10 hours required over both semesters, you can easily juggle being a mentor and focusing on your studies without jeopardising either. I am currently in my final year, and I am successfully doing assignments, working on my dissertation whilst being a mentor at the same time. If I can do it, so can you!
I received a lot of help from the organisers of the scheme, especially Scarlett, who answered my emails whenever I needed assistance. It’s extremely reassuring knowing that once you become a mentor you are not left alone in the dark. The organisers are always one email away and are ready to provide support. There are also lots of competitions that can help you get more interactive with your mentees whilst also winning lots of prizes!
To those of you who wish to become mentors and are on the fence about it, my advice would be to just sign up! You would be surprised by how fun the experience will be. Don’t think of this role as a job, but rather as a way of giving back to the university by helping those students who need support adjusting. Things are no longer the same and being there for each other during this climate is crucial to establishing the one thing QMUL takes pride in, a sense of community!
Zainab, Buddy Scheme Mentor & Volunteer