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The life-changing power of mentoring

The life-changing power of mentoring

Youth Board member Matthew talks about his mentoring journey

Mentoring has quite literally changed my life. I know that sounds bold, maybe even a little ridiculous, but it’s not: mentoring really does have that much power and I’ve experienced it firsthand. 

My first experience with mentoring was when I was 16, when I was invited down to Cambridge as part of an access scheme facilitated by Brightside. There, my mentor – like many others – welcomed me with a warm smile and the desire to help. My mentor showed me a whole new world filled with amazing conversations, grand halls, and brilliant academics.

It’s safe to say I was enamoured. And this was all due to the amazingly kind support of my mentor: someone who answered all my stupid questions, provided me continued support throughout my UCAS application, and most importantly, showed me that my background, shouldn’t, and doesn’t determine my life.

I can definitively say that my Brightside mentor altered the course of my life and that I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support.  

My story is, of course, only one of many – I am sure you heard plenty of similar stories, stories of how mentoring has helped people go to university, develop independence, or simply gain an insight into a career. But not so much is said about the mentors: how mentoring someone else can change your life.

I’ve mentored lots of young people since coming to university, but there is one thing that remains the same across all the mentoring I’ve done: how rewarding it is. Nothing compares to the joy of hearing your mentee got into their dream university, or how they got that scholarship to the US. 

But beyond these big achievements, however, there are also the little moments: the moments when your mentee smashes a mock interview, aces a question you set, or even when they say thank you at the end of the mentoring session. These are the moments I find the most rewarding, the ones that can cheer up my entire day – the moments that genuinely change my life. And I am sure I’m not alone in this one, as indicated by the numerous Brightside mentors who generously dedicate their time to their mentees each and every day. 

So, what’s my message to end of this blog post? If I had to choose, here it is: mentoring, on both sides of the relationship, can and does change lives. So if you can, give it a shot and see how your life changes! 

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