Why do you mentor with King's
I was very fortunate to get a head start in life, by being the first in my family to have the opportunity to get a university education. It helped me create a very successful career. Being retired, I now have the luxury of time to devote to helping students get a good start in their career. Essentially, I’d like to see everyone have the same – or better – opportunities that I did. Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone, so I’d like to do my bit to help.
How have you benefited from your mentoring experience?
It has been heartening to see the effect that a chat about career options and a little help with the CV and interviewing process can have. There is also, of course, the feeling of satisfaction on all sides when the mentee gets that job. But inspiration works in both directions, and I continue to be impressed by the drive, motivation and ingenuity of students in forging their paths.
Why do you think mentoring is important?
I think mentoring is important for students not only for the careers advice and opportunities it might provide but also to give students a link with someone outside the academic environment of King’s. It gives them an opportunity to talk to someone who has been successful outside academia, someone who can help them generate ideas about how they want their own life to shape up. Mentoring is perhaps particularly important for students from less-advantaged backgrounds, or those for whom arrival in London might be a daunting experience. A good mentor should be able to provide a degree of reassurance and increase their confidence, if needed.
Mentoring is probably even more important right now, during the pandemic. Students are having to dig up a huge amount of self-motivation and self-belief as their education has moved online and they find themselves removed from normal student life. Many are unable to attend college premises or mix with faculty and other students with the freedom of more flexible times. Added to this is the uncertainty of the job market. Motivation and reassurance have become especially important in mentoring, and there is more emphasis on investigating a wider range of career options than perhaps would have been the case this time last year.