Being a mentor in the Art History Pilot buddy scheme has been particularly rewarding, in the sense that I have been able to meet some wonderful first years that truly have the potential to excel in the department and at university.
It has been a really lovely experience getting to know my mentees and forging a relationship with them. I found it quite easy to connect with them because of a mutual enthusiasm for Art History. It has been great to see them grow in confidence during our meetings, from the initial meeting and the library sessions to feedback debrief on their first essays and a revision tips session. This is possibly the most rewarding element of the program. You can clearly see the difference you are making to each student.
Generally the only pitfall which I have found as a mentor is communication. Email was a little tricky begin with as first years are far too busy getting out and making friends to be constantly checking their emails like me, a panicked third year who continually checks their email in hope that the university have just decided to hand over my degree now. I would recommend that possibly a more informal means of communication, like twitter or facebook be used, or even set your mentees up with email on their phones.
Honestly it has been really brilliant to get to know some of the first years, to pass on my experiences and reassure my mentees that anything they are worried about or any queries are perfectly common and happen to everyone. I hope they have enjoyed getting to know me as much as I have them.I have also found it quite challenging to put into real, understandable words, elements of university life which come so naturally to a well practiced student. But I think in the informal set up of the mentoring scheme I have managed to explain myself and different working methods without completely terrifying my mentees.