2019 Your UQ Life Newsletter

Welcome to Your UQ Life Newsletter, after great welcome weeks we are excited to share experiences, opportunities, programs, and stories from across your University. 

Have you got a great UQ student experience that you would like to share? Please submit your story and you might be our next feature story. Submit story now.

2. A day in the life of a Student Mentor

Mentoring opportunities expand far and wide across the university but orientation is when the need for mentors is at its peak. One of the main mentoring programs that run at the start of semester is the UQ O’ to 4 Program. This program matches new students with a student mentor to guide them through their first four weeks of university. Mentors will go to orientation events with their students, show them around, and give them support and advice when they need it. Mentoring is a great way for older students to give back and exposes them to different experiences and challenges that are great for the resume. Jessie Storey and Bjarn Biederstadt both share their experiences as mentors below.

Why did you become a mentor??

Jessie: I got an email about the 0-4 program and I thought it looked interesting. I read over the program and thought it was something I could definitely do, so I submitted an application and went from there!

Bjarn: I found out about the mentoring program in the BEL activity event and decided to give it a go!

What mentoring programs are you a part of?

Jessie: The 0’ to 4 mentoring program

Bjarn: I am a part of the UQ Volunteering team and I was a mentor for the BEL faculty orientation day event “BEL Buddy”. I am also a mentor in the O’ to 4 Mentoring program.

What did you enjoy about your mentoring experience?

Jessie: I met a number of students I would not otherwise have met, and I learnt a lot about other student’s experiences. For example, I have lived in Brisbane my whole life, so coming to UQ I didn’t have to worry about things like finding my feet in a new city, learning a new language, figuring out how to rent accommodation or how to ride public transport. This is something a lot of people face when they start out that I have taken for granted. Mentoring has shown me how challenging the start of university can really be for some people.

Bjarn: I enjoy passing on my experience and knowledge onto new students.

What skills or other opportunities do you think mentoring can provide students?

Jessie: Leadership, communication and organisation skills

Bjarn: Mentoring has opened the doors to other volunteering opportunities not only in my faculty, but also across the university.

Have you been able to make new connections mentoring at UQ?

Jessie: I have made a number of new connections with students through mentoring programs at UQ. I hope to join an industry-mentoring program during my degree to help make more professional connections as well.

Bjarn: Absolutely! I have meet a number of new people from different academic disciplines as well as from my own faculty for both social and professional purposes.

If a new student is interested in joining a mentoring program as a mentor or mentee, what would you tell them?

Jessie: I would tell them to give it a go! There is a lot to gain from both sides. Plus, it’s always something good to add to your resume!

Bjarn: Go for it! Ask yourself “What did I wish I knew when I first started uni”? Then ask yourself “How can I pass this knowledge onto new students to make their first few weeks easier”?

What Challenges have you faced as a mentor?

Jessie & Bjarn: A few challenges we face from time to time would be engaging with the mentees, getting attendance for meet-ups and trying to organise everyone’s timetables can be tricky!

Would you keep mentoring and why?

Jessie: I would definitely keep mentoring. I have enjoyed the experience and love meeting new people I would not otherwise get a chance to meet. It has also been beneficial for enhancing my skills in leadership and organisation.

Bjarn: I would and have! I first mentored in semester 1 of 2019 and re-joined the program in semester 2 2019. I am in my final year and wanted to give back to the university. I remember on my first orientation day event, I was sent to a 500+ lecture theatre and It was hard to know where to go from there. Mentoring is a nice relaxed casual way of meeting new students and checking in on how they are going in a more relaxed setting.