As part of our collaboration with the hive scholars, we are discussing our experiences with mentoring. Mentoring is an invaluable resource to undergraduates throughout their degree; it is also an art only some can master. Mentors don’t just answer your questions, but they assist you in overcoming obstacles, and encourage you to think, work through and learn from your past mistakes. Luckily for students at Sussex University there are a lot of opportunities to be mentored ranging from each faculty having undergraduates to being mentored by PHD students.
The following are three different student’s experiences on mentoring they have received so far and the impact it has had on their education.
Ollie Pearson: Psychology
I have only received mentoring on an informal basis, but it has still been a valuable source of guidance for my academic life. For example, when I wrote my first lab reports (and was completely daunted by them), my mentor gave me tips on how to structure a report and tricks on how to reference sources, which made me feel much more competent to deal with the challenges of assignments. Moreover, I’m really grateful for having had a mentor to give me guidance about the course as a whole, for example the stages of the course to be prepared for, as well as reassurance of the things to not worry too much about. It has been fantastic to have received advice from someone who has gone through the things that I’m going through, because it is advice based on experience. Since mentors have had similar experiences to their mentees, it has had the advantage of being very relevant and realistic.
Olivia Melkonian: Media Practice
I have been mentored by a PHD student, and it has been such a great experience. Working with PHD students provides you with opportunities that wold usually not be available. They not only have great knowledge in their areas of practice, but also know how to execute their skills for the best outcome. I have learned so much, and have been pushed to create forms of media that I previously hadn’t before.
In addition, the technicians in MFM are incredible. Each team member specialises in a different aspect of multimedia and encourage students to try new things, and to learn from their mistakes – at the end of the day, this is one of the best ways to learn individually and organically.
One of my tutors has been a great mentor to me. He is always available to talk through things that I find challenging, encourages me to experiment, and try new things to adopt a new set of skills, and is always ready to demonstrate things I don’t understand.
I am surrounded by an incredible work environment, made by passionate people who create an atmosphere of determination, learning, and growth. My experience with mentors has exceeded all expectations. Their constant support pushes me to work to the best of my ability, and I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today without them.
Aly Davie: Marketing and Management
I have been fortunate enough to be on both sides to mentoring. As business school student mentor there is nothing more satisfying and humbling than being able to help other students with challenges and queries they have about their degrees. Being able to help even one person understand a topic or have reassurance in their future career choices is beneficial to not only them but to myself. I have furthered my communication and organisational; as well furthering my abilities to be compassionate and approachable.
As a mentee I benefit almost daily from the support of final years and postgraduates. From something as small as giving me advice on whether or not to apply for specific opportunity to guiding me with my studies they are always willing to help. Postgraduates students give a different perspective to most, as they have already been where you are now. They encourage me often to pursue opportunities, not be afraid to ask the “stupid questions” and to have faith in my own abilities. By offering a new perspective to my own studies it makes me see the bigger picture more clearly.
I am always amazed by what the PHD students are researching, and hearing about their discoveries and experiences, it acts as such a motivation to me in my studies. – A reminder that no matter how tough an assignment is, you can get through it and look at what you could achieve. More opportunities to be mentored by PHD students should be encouraged as their knowledge, determination and experiences are beyond invaluable to us as students.
Did you know all these mentoring services are available to you at Sussex?
- BMEC: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/bmec/internal/students/support/mentors
- Engineering/ Informatics: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/ei/internal/forstudents/engineeringdesign/ug/studentmentors
- English: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/english/internal/forstudents/mentor
- LPS: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lps/internal/students/studentmentors
- MFM: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/mfm/internal/students/mfmmentors
- Psychology: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/psychology/internal/students/studentmentors