I work at Bucks in the Learning Development Unit supporting students as they develop their academic skills around their subject knowledge, and gained a MA in Leadership and Management from Bucks.
I’ve also worked as a freelance writer so I was able to offer some common ground for my Mentee, a first year mature student of Creative Writing.
This year my Mentee and I focused on:
- Feeling part of the university and being ‘entitled’ to be on the programme, as a mature returner to education after years in employment.
- Confidence; that she was working along on the right lines and able to perform at a comparable level with younger classmates. She was anxious that those ‘fresh out of school/college’ would have the edge due to their established academic mind-set which she sensed the course may favour. We worked on gauging where her alternative strengths and experiences could compensate and overcome any perceived disadvantages.
- Ways to overcome, or re-think, some of the gaps in educational experience or formal knowledge that she felt acted as barriers to her success.
- Strategies to manage parts of the course content which she found less inherently motivating than other aspects.
- Celebrating successes and underlining that her grades showed she was in the right place and must keep going. She did really well. I suspect she would have been just as successful without me, so my main role was as moral support and sounding board.
The process kept me in closer touch with the student experience at Bucks, which is sometimes hard to gain as ‘one of the staff’. I was very interested – and often quite jealous – to hear about the work being covered and the way the course set engaging challenges for participants.
Our conversations about the way we each tackled writing work were always enlightening and I picked up some good tips for my own use along the way.
It was also fun!
The Bucks Mentoring Programme matches and supports one-to-one relationships between students (the Mentee) and a selected Mentor (a more experience student, graduate or professional).
Our Mentors come from a variety of backgrounds, and are matched based on the industry they work in or the skill set they have that a Mentee can learn from.
From these links you can read more about the experiences of the Mentees and Mentors, or go onto the university website to see more about the programme and to download an application form to volunteer your services: Bucks New University Mentoring Programme