For the last couple of years I've been volunteering as a mentor for the Social Mobility Foundation.
SMF students are very bright, but there is rarely anyone in their family (or even amongst friends of their family) who has been to university, or who has entered a profession – let alone a person who has followed the career path that they would one day like to pursue. So the SMF partner up professionals with these students in the hope that we can offer a bit of support to give them the kind of advice that might help them to thrive.
My first mentee has just received her A-level results: two A*'s and an A and will now be going to a top tier university studying a very challenging subject. I wasn't expecting it, but she sent me the below message after getting her results:
This is my first ever mentoring experience so I didn't really know what to expect. I was in the middle of online learning in the pandemic, preparing to apply to uni. I think I really just needed someone who had experience of university, which is something I don't have access to at home. I also think because no one in my household really understood the difference of universities or the career path I wanted to take, I think I just needed someone to broaden my senses. And I think that not only have you helped me mature academically but mentally and emotionally as well. I feel as if your advice has not only helped me improve my grades and learning styles but I also feel more prepared for adulthood and the new journeys ahead.
In particular, dealing with failure. I feel as if failure is never really talked about even though it's one thing people always go through. But I feel as if you taught me a lesson that no book or equation could ever teach me. Failure is okay and it happens but its how you deal with it in the face of failure that matters. I feel as if that is a life lesson I will remember forever and it's all thanks to you.
I will forever be grateful that you dedicated your time, energy and life lessons to help me and I am know that your boys are so lucky to have an amazing father.
But overall, I just wanted to say thank you
I can't tell you how much this message means to me. It's been an incredibly challenging year for young people, and she's done incredibly well given the circumstances. That I was able to help her even a little vindicates to me the approach the the SMF has taken.
Please do get in touch with them and sign up to be a mentor. It's the most rewarding experience and all done electronically, so it's not too time-consuming.
I can't recommend it highly enough.
You can find out more and register your interest here: Become a Mentor with the SMF - Social Mobility Foundation. Do it, you won't regret it.