Starting university can be an exciting experience but it also brings with it new challenges. Many students, especially those from backgrounds typically less likely to attend university (also known as Widening Participation students) take a bit of time to find their feet. We're on the search for students to be mentors for these students. As a Buddy Mentor you will be paired with a first year Widening Participation student to offer them guidance and support. We asked Sophie about her experience of being a mentor including what she enjoyed and also why she would recommend becoming a mentor to other students.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Sophie Churchill and I’m in my third year studying French and Spanish. I’m originally from Bath but I live in London. My favourite things to do in my free time include volunteering, learning languages, drinking coffee (preferably in a cute café), ice skating and most importantly spending time with friends and family. You can usually find me anywhere where I can spend time with small children or dogs, and if not, you’ll find me somewhere in France!
Why did you decide to be a mentor on the KCLSU Buddy Scheme?
I wanted to be a mentor on the KCLSU Buddy Scheme primarily because I love helping people and offering advice and support if needed. I also wanted to help make the experience of settling into uni less daunting for first year students, but particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are care experienced, estranged from their parents etc. I have done lots of mentoring before, but never as part of a Widening Participation scheme so I really wanted to try something new and it’s been so enjoyable and rewarding.
What have you enjoyed most about being a mentor?
The thing I’ve enjoyed most about being a mentor is simply spending time with my mentee. I was very fortunate with the mentee I was paired with and I genuinely loved our calls together and hearing how they were flourishing at uni. I’ve now got a new friend who I look forward to continuing to support throughout the rest of my time at King’s.
Has the KCLSU Buddy Scheme helped you throughout the pandemic, if so, how?
I feel very lucky to have been part of the Buddy Scheme during the pandemic because it has been a great way to connect with different people and to keep up regular communication. It’s also been extra rewarding knowing that you’re helping your mentee during what is a very uncertain time for them under any circumstances when starting university, but especially now. Getting to spend time with them and getting to know them (albeit virtually) really helped to pass the difficult weeks in lockdown.
What skills have you gained from being a mentor on the scheme?
Being a mentor on the scheme has allowed me to continue developing my communication and listening skills. I’ve also consolidated my own knowledge about King’s through signposting my mentee to different people and departments and making sure I was giving them the right information! It’s been a great opportunity to practice empathy and also the skills required in building effective and trustworthy relationships.
Why should people apply to mentor on the KCLSU Buddy Scheme?
It’s simply a great thing to do! Both mentor and mentee get so much out of the scheme, as well as lots of training and different opportunities to try fun new things together. I would definitely recommend applying to be a mentor on the Buddy Scheme because there’s no better feeling than knowing you’re helping others and making a difference.
If you want to help new students get settled into university, you can apply to be a mentor on the scheme up until Monday 5 July 2021. To find out more about the scheme and to apply, click on the button below.
Apply to be a mentor