My volunteering experience as a STaR Mentor

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES STUDENT, CHUI-YAN CHEUNG, TELLS US MORE ABOUT BEING A STaR MENTOR…

I have been a STaR Mentor at the University of Reading, which is a voluntary role that involves mentoring up to 12 new first year students. In this role, I was there to help my mentees during their first term at university. I found it to be very rewarding because I could make them feel at ease and enjoyed being able to support them. It is a great position to be in as you can make a positive impact to another person’s life.

The main responsibilities of a STaR Mentor is to provide insightful information and advice to these students. Your mentees will likely go through similar situations that you’ve been through in your first year, so it’s nice to be able to inform them on various things that you wanted to know back then. There are different levels of engagement from mentees as some require more or less help than others. But you can help them with lots of different things, from making friends to finding the best places for nights out. It really depends on their needs and what they want from the mentorship.

STaR Mentors are there to share and relate to their mentees, and help them settle in to university life. We also signpost them to available services at the University if they need further help that’s outside our expertise. The main goal is to ensure mentees have the smoothest possible transition into university by being a point of contact to answer questions on things they are unsure about or should know about before and after starting university during their first term that might be useful. Your knowledge and experience as a student plays an important role to guiding new students, so they can make the most of their time at university.

In this volunteer role, you are committed to at least an hour every week to your mentees for the whole of Autumn Term. This can be through emails or other methods of contact such as in person, whatever works best for the needs of your mentees. You are also required to meet them in person at first to introduce yourself and just engage with them to answer any queries or concerns and inform them of things to get involved with at the start of the year. It’s a worthwhile volunteering opportunity that lets you make a difference to your fellow students. You can find out more here.

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