A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I am a student mentor and it’s great, I really enjoy it.
I was a mentor for the introduction days last year and I loved my group of “kids”. I did keep in touch with them afterwards and tried to help out with the questions they had throughout the year as well.
This year there were two separate mentor positions: one for the introduction days and one for throughout the year. Of course, I signed up for both!
Being a mentor for the introduction days is surely fun as you get to meet a lot of new people and hear about their lives, places they have been to and the people they want to become. Lucky for me I also had a really nice group this year and enjoyed the time I spent with them.
The second mentorship program is a little different and is new this year. There are four sessions in total. Two of them are general (crowded) ones where the students receive a lecture on time management and how to study for exams and another lecture on presentation skills. The other two are made up of two mentor groups getting together and is a place for more personal discussion and feedback on the same topics. It also involves checking up on the students and seeing how they are doing, how their first ever university midterms went, whether they are getting used to life here and such, which I believe is actually the most important part. If and when they have a question, my duty is to help them out, answer the question and if I don’t have the answer, to direct them to the correct people.
In our first meeting with the two groups I and my co-mentor decided to make it a little easier and more enjoyable for us all. So instead of having the meeting between 7-9pm we had it a little bit earlier as people had to travel back to different parts of Holland and this would be more challenging after 9pm. We also moved the meeting from a classroom at campus to a nice pub with enough space for both groups! People in this country have panels about Brexit or Amnesty International information sessions at pubs, so why not have our mentor session at a pub as well? It was a very enjoyable and helpful session with some nice beers.
But of course we mentors are also people and sometimes we have questions, problems or just things we need to talk about too. In such cases it is always better to take action early on and go talk to the student coordinators which I did just today about some personal problems and a delay I faced with a deadline. I’ll admit that I wasn’t so quick to go as I prefer talking to family and friends in such cases but sometimes, and that means when it affects your study progress, you should go and see a student coordinator. It is so simple to send an email and arrange a meeting and I can promise you that they are always very helpful.
In life we will always have mentors and people we mentor, or just friends and family to get us through tough times and I hope you will have the best of the best for this task!