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When Princess and I had our first meeting, I just knew she had the confidence and potential inside her ready to be unleashed. All she needed was someone to help her unlock the door.
As her mentor, it was a pleasure to be able to open her eyes to the power of her own capabilities. Within a few weeks of our mentoring partnership, she started to blossom and by the end of our time together, she was brimming with positive energy and confidence.
Playing witness to that as her mentor was a hugely rewarding experience and an absolute joy to see. As well as an opportunity to pay it forward and make a direct difference to someone trying to find their way in life, it also gave me a space to reflect on what I had achieved in my career and life today, which was an incredibly enriching experience.
The whole experience of being mentored was so much more than I could have asked for. I had an amazing mentor, who went out of her way and beyond to help me achieve the targets we had set. Thanks to the guidance of my mentor, my confidence, skill sets and knowledge have undeniably moved to a whole other level.
I would definitely recommend this incredible opportunity to anyone who is looking for personal growth, guidance or support. I am very glad I decided to join the programme!
I know first-hand that having a mentor can change your life forever. When I changed careers at almost 40 years old, I started anew in a different industry, a different country, a different work culture and a different language. I wouldn't have been able to get a foot in the new industry if it hadn't been for those who lent me a hand.
My mentee, Pietro, was a photography student, which is my own creative field so we were a perfect match. When we met, neither of us knew what kind of support was needed, so we spent time getting acquainted and working it out. Our first few meetings were in person, then we changed to remote meetings because of geography, so when the pandemic started, we were already meeting online.
Through our discussions I became conscious of the vast experience and knowledge I'd acquired. I was able to offer insights into the job market and how the industry works, and advice on how to develop projects from inception to completion. As Petro's final project deadline was approaching, we agreed to meet more often which helped him remain on track and accountable.
I was happy to help someone else, but I never expected to learn so much myself. It's a symbiotic relationship. You offer advice and in return, your mentee offers you a different perspective on your own career and on life. They give you a fresh view of the issues in your industry and can show you a whole new way of doing things.
I am a completely different person than when I started mentoring others. Mentorship has broadened my horizons, and helped me sell myself better as an expert in what I do. More importantly, it has given me the satisfaction of sharing my knowledge and seeing another human being thrive
Becoming a mentor to someone during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic could have gone either way. As it happened, I felt that this new ‘virtual mentoring' redefined the programme, and that it was even more successful than what I'd done previously in my previous experience as a mentor.
I was able to connect with my mentee more often online, and, in maintaining these touch points, I strongly believe it helped close the loneliness gap. And, of course, I was able to provide the invaluable support to help my mentee remain focused and aligned with his goals to ensure he succeeded.
For anyone who has not tried the programme yet, I would say there's no better time. This is definitely mentoring at its best.
If you've ever been in the middle of your studies and worried that you don't have it all figured out, that there are too many hurdles to overcome and you can't work out what path to take after graduation, I'd definitely recommend having a mentor.
I felt a bit lost about where I was heading career-wise, so my own mentor, Barbara, helped me explore possible future career paths including further higher education options which I hadn't thought about. She worked with my strengths and ambitions and helped me discover which options would help me truly thrive and achieve my potential. It meant so much for someone to take the time and effort to put me at the centre of it all.
She also made sure the sessions fitted around my fluctuating long term health issues. When you're having difficulties it's easy to lose some confidence in your abilities and become disheartened. She reminded me how far I'd already come and what I'd achieved and made me believe what I was truly capable of. She was helpful, reassuring and understanding and the whole experience was extremely rewarding.
This is an experience I have recommended to so many other students I know, and I can definitely say it will enrich your experience at university. It doesn't detract from your study time, in fact I studied more effectively.
And, to top it all off, it is an excellent opportunity to collect some Kingston Awards points which will give your CV that much-needed competitive edge.