Portrait of a Mentor
The Students’ Union Buddy Scheme is relaunching this year in a new, improved formula. Still unsure about applying? Read this interview with one of the current mentors and see for yourself.
This week we spoke to Vidya, a Mathematics student.
Degree: BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science
What made you choose QMUL?
I chose QMUL mainly because it’s part of the Russell Group. I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my degree, but if I decide to go down the research route, I think this will be a big advantage. Then there’s also the fact that it’s in London and it offers on-campus accommodation, this is something that was really important to me as an international student. Plus, it’s such a diverse place! There is something for everyone and the social life is amazing.
What made you decide to become a mentor?
To be honest, when I first arrived at Queen Mary, I found it quite difficult to settle in. I didn’t have any friends at the beginning, no points of contact, and I felt isolated at times. I just want to help make sure that no one feels this way when they start university. And it’s a good volunteering opportunity.
What is the best thing about having a mentee?
I would say, first of all, the fact that I got to embrace my leadership skills and I saw how my voice was being heard and how that was impacting my mentees. But also the satisfaction that you get when you realize that you’ve helped someone navigate through university life by using your own experience.
How do you see your relationship with your mentee in the future?
We may not be meeting consistently from now on, but I am sure we’ll stay in touch through social media. I would definitely consider contacting her in the future.
What advice would you give a buddy pair?
To the mentor, I would say try your best to get in contact with your mentees and get to know them, but don’t take it personal if they don’t reciprocate. Sometimes new students ‘learn to fly’ in the first few weeks and no longer feel like they need you, and that is okay. So unless you think they might be in danger, don’t try to persuade them if they don’t seem interested anymore. To the mentee, I would recommend that you stay open and communicative and try your best to reply when your mentor contacts you – they are, after all, taking their time to check on you. Also, try to understand what a great opportunity you’re given, and utilise your mentor efficiently!
To find out more about the Buddy Scheme and how to sign up, click here.