Yesterday I had my last training session and I feel kind of sorry for it; I really enjoyed all the sessions for this programme. So, what is this about? Let me tell you.
The Mentors will be students who support and guide the Mentees; the new students in their first year (well, in the first semester of the first year). The Mentees will be matched with their Mentors based on their studies, of course, but also on whether they share the same interests. I find it really great because it’s important to have something in common, if possible, besides the fact that you are both at the same Department. This whole thing is informal, it really is about being there for new students; either if they have some problems or if they just need a familiar face to talk to whilst they are in the process of settling in, making new friends and adjusting to all the University stuff. These are not easy stages at the beginning for a Fresher, so having a Mentor can help a lot!
To become a Mentor, which is a voluntary thing, we needed to take part in a few training sessions which prepared us for this role. We discussed ‘Safeguarding’ which is about students’ wellbeing, ‘Diversity’, where we had a look at the discrimination-equality issue, and ‘Communication’ where we talked about all the aspects of a clear, effective communication, from verbal to non-verbal. The sessions were very interactive with some fun activites – I actually feel that I have learnt things that are important to know in everyday life in general. Frankly, I would make these few sessions compulsory for everyone as they are dealing with stuff that does matter in life.
So from September I will have Mentees to whom I can give advice and tips about the University and other student-life related issues (like what to do if you feel like you don’t really have friends or if you just wonder where you can get the best doughnuts in town). I wish I had this opportunity when I was in my first year… (Really, why didn’t I have it? Or was it available, it’s just that I didn’t know about it? I’m still not sure.) I could have asked lots from my Mentor, for instance about course related things or about the societies. Plus, in the first few days of the very first week I felt a bit alone and I guess it would have been nice to have someone to talk to. But anyway, now I’m just really glad that I have this opportunity and I’m quite excited about being a Mentor next year!