Written by Anna Wesson (Occupational Psychology, 2012)
“Why do you want to be a mentor? Do you know what’s involved?”
These were the words that echoed in my head as I went into the training for the Mentoring Pathways programme. The blunt answer was no. I had some fuzzy ideas about making a difference, but beyond that, I wasn’t clear about what to expect.
As an alumnus of Birkbeck, I have first-hand experience of the magic of the place. The Master’s course I completed in 2012 overhauled my life, causing me to alter my perspective on myself and my career. For me, there was one piece missing. Going through the educational process, I wanted the opportunity to explore how to embed my learning into my life.
Fast forward six years, and I came across the mentoring programme by accident. I realised that this was my opportunity to support someone having an experience like mine all those years ago.
Mentoring was a fascinating experience and one with unexpected consequences. In working with my mentee, I was forced to get clear on my story, why I had made the choices I made, what served me, and what I would counsel against. It forced me to get under the skin of some of the commercial decisions I have made and justify them, which I really enjoyed.
My mentee and I spent time discussing her academic work, and in that, I discovered new writers and texts, and enriched my practice in unexpected ways.
I had expected to enjoy supporting a student in a way that allowed them to think about things differently. What I had not expected was the breadth of learning for me and the richness that it offered.
I can wholeheartedly recommend being part of the mentoring programme. As well as being run exceptionally smoothly, it offers a development opportunity for both mentors and mentees. I strongly encourage you to sign up next year.
–Anna Wesson is an executive coach, working with emerging leaders in professional services.
The Mentoring Pathways programme offers Birkbeck graduates and corporate partners the opportunity to mentor a current Birkbeck undergraduate or postgraduate finalist.
The programme aims to support students’ career aspirations and expose them to professional networks, by bridging the gap between academic learning and workplace practices.
Applications have opened for the Mentoring Pathways 2019/20 intake, find out more about becoming a mentor.