Starting Out: Success Needs Time
By Chelsey Baker
Throughout my career, I’ve mentored people in many diverse environments and circumstances, at different stages in their career paths. But one area that has always piqued my interest is university level – students that are just starting out in the world of work, forging their own connections and figuring out what kind of person they want to become.
Mentoring in colleges and universities is so important; younger people don’t have much experience or intuition to fall back on, and they can lack foresight to examine how their actions might affect their future. Working with a mentor can really help give valuable insight into alternative options and strategies at crucial crossroads in their life and is positively linked to student retention.
Through the power of mentoring, I’ve realised that I can make a real difference to the lives of these students, not only by providing accountability, but also by offering support and motivation when they need it most. Being able to share my experiences and offer a different perspective, spot potential problems and help them set and achieve goals to support their own progress is exceptionally rewarding.
My time as a mentor has seen me address a multitude of problems. Many students often feel completely overwhelmed with their workloads and daunted by their future or lack of one. Poor focus can make their studies feel like a constant struggle, turning enthusiasm and excitement into doubt and worries. These feelings can be compounded by not speaking out due to poor communication skills and this can lead to a total lack of self-esteem. There is far less likelihood of this happening if the student is involved in an ongoing open and supportive mentoring relationship.
This is where mentoring really pays off. By offering a second opinion, providing honest and constructive feedback, and helping students to improve those crucial communication skills, mentors can help guide them through this challenging time in their life. A good mentor can act as a confident and sounding board for alternatives and new pathways helping them to develop personally and grow professionally.
A lack of time, heavy workloads and high performance expectations can be the biggest hurdles when implementing mentoring initiatives for students. Success lies in allocating sufficient resources, not excluding students, allowing time for the mentoring to take place, being committed to the mentoring relationship (on both sides) and keeping students motivated and focused on the job at hand – whatever that may end up being.
It was my passion for mentoring that led me to launch National Mentoring Day to raise awareness on the benefits of mentoring for individuals, schools, colleges, universities and businesses. The day will pay tribute to mentoring received or given and recognises the significant impact that mentoring can have on not only our economy but also our society.
Held on the 27th October each year, or the first Monday after if it falls on a weekend, the day encourages events and networking to take place throughout the World. Everyone is invited to share their experiences, success stories and recognise those who’ve made a difference in society, business and education.
As an experienced mentor myself, I have seen first-hand how the right guidance can greatly turn things around for individuals. The relationship and role that a mentor plays has never been as important as it is in today’s challenging and uncertain times – and that’s especially true for students, when the important decisions made can affect the trajectory of an entire career. National Mentoring Day aims to draw attention to this important stage in a young person’s life, and encourage more people to take up mentoring.
Join in and celebrate National Mentoring Day with us. Please help share our campaign on social media or in your newsletters or blogs. Free resources on the website include; printable ‘Thank Your Mentor’ cards, social media graphics, posters, banners and a downloadable ‘Get Involved Guide’ packed with ideas to create your own event for National Mentoring Day.
P.S Mentoring Rocks!
CEO & Founder National Mentoring Day