During my third year of university, I decided to become a mentor to first year undergraduate students and also study abroad students coming to Sheffield for a semester. I felt that I had good advice that I could give to first year students and was interested in the chance to meet new people. In addition, having completed a year abroad in Australia last year, I thought that I could offer good advice to study abroad students in terms of dealing with issues such as homesickness or culture shock.
I was matched with two first year undergraduates and one study abroad student. It was interesting to meet up with my mentees and discuss living in Sheffield and general advice for university. I also find being a mentor to be a particularly rewarding experience as you are able to offer support when people may be struggling to adapt to university life. In addition, it has improved my self-confidence with regards to talking to new people. Being a mentor has made me more comfortable with talking to new people.
I have never had a mentor myself but having been involved in the mentoring scheme means that I would recommend first year undergraduates to take advantage of the scheme. Having a mentor means that you would always have someone to turn to for help and advice. Your mentor can ensure that you maximise the enjoyment of your time in Sheffield and do not miss out on anything. I would also recommend for students to become mentors themselves. It is beneficial for you in the sense that it improves your social skills whilst also providing a friendly face for someone to turn to if they are unsure about anything; both academically and personally.
Overall, being a mentor has been an enjoyable aspect of my time at university and I have enjoyed getting to know my mentees over coffee and cake at the Students’ Union. I think that the mentoring programme helps first year undergraduates to settle in whilst also providing an opportunity to meet new people.