Following on, as promised in Part One of my two-part post about mentoring at the University of Sheffield, is part two, where I have sat down with my mentees from this academic year and quizzed them about the last few months of their mentoring journey. Since September 2018 I have mentored two women at the University; Fathima, a Mature Student undertaking the Foundation Year and Laura, a third year Erasmus student from Spain. This was my first year as a Mentor and I have personally found it incredibly rewarding; not only have I been able to pass on important, pivotal knowledge about the University (giving directions, setting up the Uni app, how to print, etc.), I have also made two very valued friends over the last academic year. Read on to find out about how they’ve found their mentoring experience!
As the end of this academic year is fast approaching now we are reaching exam season, I thought this would be a good time to reflect upon my mentoring journey with my mentees; consider this like a module evaluation! I asked them both the same questions to find out their individual insights on the mentoring experience, if they enjoyed it or found it useful and if they would recommend having a Mentor to other students who may be considering it. I hope that any prospective students that may stumble upon our Student blog might read this and be inspired, and possibly decide to apply for a mentor themselves. I also hope I may inspire current students to undertake the mentoring responsibility. Laura, Fathima and I have had a fantastic academic year together and have managed to meet up most weeks around our busy university and personal schedules. No-one is obliged to take mentoring to the ‘friend’ level and contact can cease after the initial weeks at university once mentees are settled in, however, we made a great connection and have really enjoyed the last year; I hope future mentors and mentees can do the same!
1. Why did you apply for a Mentor?
Laura: Even though I had already studied at university for two years before I came to Sheffield, I thought it would be a good idea if I could speak to someone about any concerns I had.
Fathima: I thought I had to apply!
2. What did you expect to gain from having a Mentor?
L: I expected that someone would be able to give me guidance to get me through my academic year at the University.
F: It had been a while since I was away from school (as I am a mature student) so I just wanted help to get familiar with the University.
3. How did you find the application process?
L: I found it really easy to apply.
F: It was pretty easy.
4. How have you found the mentoring experience?
L: I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. I have found not only a mentor but also a friend and I haven’t felt alone regarding academic matters.
F: It’s been great! We have not only a lovely mentor but also a good friend.
5. Are you glad that you applied for a Mentor?
L: I am so glad that I did. I would do it again!
F: Yes, definitely glad.
6. Would you recommend applying for a Mentor to other students in your situation, such as a Mature Student and Erasmus Student?
L: Yes, I would. I am an Erasmus student and I think that it’s really helpful to have a native speaker that can help you understand British culture.
F: Yes, I would definitely recommend it.
7. Would you consider mentoring in the future after your mentoring experience?
L: Unfortunately, I am an Erasmus student and I will start my final year in Spain this September, so I won’t. However, if I were a first or second year student and stayed at Sheffield, I would consider it.
F: Yes! I’ve already applied actually. I am looking forward to the experience of being a mentor myself.