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Ffion: ‘why I chose to become a student mentor’

12 February 2020

“Hi everyone, my name is Ffion and I’m a 4th year Integrated Master’s student in the School of Bioscience and also a Mentor Consultant for Bioscience Student Mentors. I’ve been part of the Student Mentoring Scheme for a few years now, and I was part of the first cohort of Bioscience Student Mentors.

If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in applying to be a Student Mentor or Mentor Consultant, and I encourage you to do so, you won’t regret it! I will admit I had a few doubts about applying to be a Student Mentor. At the time I was approaching the end of my 2nd year and I worried about being able to juggle the responsibilities of being a Student Mentor alongside third year coursework, exams, dissertation, and everything else that pops up. I was also commuting, and I still do, so that was another aspect that I was concerned about. Little did I know the things I was worried about turned out being some of the most rewarding and professionally developing aspects of the scheme!

As you may have guessed, I put my worries aside and went for it! And I’m so glad that I did. I became part of a warm and friendly community who support me with everything, I met a load of new people, and most importantly I got to help first year students whilst building up the skills required for a stand-out CV.

Student mentors are so important. As you may remember, when you started as a 1st year student everything was new, daunting, you may not have known anyone in your lecture theatre (especially if you commuted!), and the lecturers may not have been the first person you wanted to approach for “silly questions”. That’s where the Student Mentor comes in! There’s no such thing as silly questions to us. We’re here to guide peers through their first year, offering advice on university life, and providing a ‘base’ group so you always have people to talk to. In my experience, just having people to talk to can make such a big difference to how someone feels in their first year at university, away from the comforts of home and school friends. It’s lovely for me to see that my previous mentees are still close friends now, even years later. Being a Mentor Consultant is equally rewarding, providing your Student Mentors with a network of advice and support in their role.

The skills development aspect is a huge reward for taking part in the scheme. You could make a list as long as your arm of the skills you develop. My favourite ones are leadership and organisation. To be a Student Mentor or Mentor Consultant you are leading a small group of people, planning sessions around various timetables, creating and presenting content, and juggling everything around your degree. This is easier than it sounds as it’s only a couple of hours commitment a week, but it does require you to manage your time effectively. Employers love that. And it provides an interesting talking point in interviews.

So, in brief, if you’re thinking of applying – go for it! “

We are recruiting new volunteer Student Mentors now!

Help new first years in your school, gain employability skills and get a certificate! Search “Student Mentor” on the intranet to access the role description and online application form and apply by Friday 6 March. All student mentors receive full training, supervision and support – we are here to help you in your role. We welcome applications from undergraduate students who will be returning to campus in September 2020.

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