Read how Anton’s three different experiences with our mentoring programmes helped him to make confident and informed decisions about his future…
If you’d told baby-faced Anton in January 2019 that in three and a half years he would’ve completed two gruelling years of university and successfully enrolled in a placement year… well, I think that conversation would’ve been over pretty fast.
But, here I am right now, writing this blog. Let’s delve into how on Earth I ended up here.
In that same fateful month, all those years ago, an organisation called Brightside came to visit my school. I could’ve passed them off as another tiresome visitor to my sixth form, telling me to consider my future, etc. etc. But, when they demonstrated their newly launched mentoring platform, something really captured my interest.
I was keen to explore the tool they gave us, and decided it was worth giving it a go. After all, you don’t know if you don’t try, right?
First experience of mentoring: Alex
Still, I was apprehensive about opening up about my own career prospects to a total stranger, wondering if they’d even be that interested in what I had to say.
A month later, my mentoring programme was already coming to a close; in that time, I’d learned so much, and not just about the academic side of university, but about the being a grown-up, my own person, independent and determined to succeed.
Having explored my areas of interest, my first mentor, Alex, had supplied me with a wealth of information on courses, universities, wellbeing, and even the best websites to buy your kitchen utensils. Together, we considered pros and cons of each one, and he encouraged me to “make the choice that feels right”.
That same year, I got into the University of Kent summer school, and everything changed, this was where I wanted to go, this was where I saw myself in a year’s time.
Second experience of mentoring: Sally
In October 2019 Brightside offered me another chance to enrol on one of their mentoring programmes. Having benefitted so much from the first, I leapt at the chance.
This time things were different; instead of being paired up with a post-graduate, I was given the opportunity to be mentored by someone who’d progressed to a high-paying career without going to university. This was someone who had worked all their life, and achieved it all without a degree under their belt. It was the perfect opportunity to weigh up which route I truly saw myself taking.
A couple of months passed by and I found hearing such a different view from my first mentor to be a real eye-opener. This one said, “you can get to wherever you want if you work hard enough, with or without a degree”.
Nonetheless, I knew in my heart that it was what I wanted to do, and so began the application.
Third experience of mentoring: Jo
Fast forward to August 2020, and I’d just found out my place at the University of Kent had been accepted. I’d also just been invited to take part in one last mentoring programme with someone tailored to the subject I was going to be starting in just a couple of months. It was then that I met Jo and she was fantastic.
Feeling overwhelmed by the course content and the challenges that lay ahead, it was crushing. Every other day, despite her own responsibilities, she made time to drop me a message, answer any silly questions I had, and reassure me that I was on the right path.
Honestly, if it hadn’t been for her, I either would’ve dropped out or changed subjects.
After benefitting from three extremely varied, yet equally impactful mentoring programmes, I couldn’t recommend the experience more. Building a bond with your mentor is so important, and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
I definitely don’t think I would be where I am today, if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith and given Brightside a go.
There are lots of ways you can work with us to connect young people with inspiring mentors so they can have the same life-changing experience as Anton. Click here to find out more.