Mentoring was like swimming in uncharted territory for me. How would I approach it? What would I get out of it? Did I even really need to do it? All kinds of questions were popping into my head as to how to approach my relationship with my mentor.
I shouldn’t have worried: it was fabulous.
Our first interaction created a positive and friendly atmosphere. We talked about what our favourite cuisines were and our favourite dishes (mine of course being lasagne).
I was in my last year of sixth form, so in our first couple of messages we created goals around what I would like to get out of mentoring and how my mentor could support me. We decided on goals such as revision techniques, which was very important as my mentor had studied similar A-levels to me.
I was able to complete practice exam questions that my mentor would look over and give critical feedback on what I needed to do to improve my answers. We also discussed personal statement advice and my mentor provided tips and tricks on how to structure mine so that it would stand out. They also gave me advice on what to expect if I had to go through interviews for university admissions.
My GCSE exams were cancelled due to the pandemic and so my mentoring journey was extremely beneficial to me. My mentor helped me navigate Year 13 when many of my studies had been disrupted, at a time when I was unsure how my exams would pan out.
My mentoring relationship with my Brightside mentor is something that I will never forget. It has also served as a template for current mentors that I have, allowing me to not be afraid in engaging in conversation and taking advantage of every opportunity that I am presented with.
I’d advise any young person, especially if they have just started sixth form, to research organisations that tailor support for students. This can then lead you to engage in other activities that may support you in the future, and to meet individuals who could provide you with support if you are finding it hard to know what your next move will be.
Mentoring helps you find where your interests lie and pushes you to believe that you can chase them. Don’t be discouraged by rejection; if you don’t try you’ll never know where you could end up. I fell three marks short of the final grade I needed to get into LSE, where I was hoping to study. Even though I was accepted to my other university choices, I ultimately decided to take a gap year. It was one of the best choices I made!
Ultimately, if you have made it this far, don’t be afraid as you never know what life will throw at you.
My Brightside mentor helped me massively with my path from sixth form to university, so go ahead and make mentoring part of your journey!