Aneesah Akram, 2nd year Chemistry student
Applying for the QMentoring scheme
I spent my first year at QMUL adjusting to my course, socialising through societies, and trying to figure out my options and interests. Having enrolled onto the undergraduate MSci Chemistry programme, I knew that my career interests laid within the research and development sector, where I could apply the practical skills that I enjoyed so much.
Over the summer, I realised I needed to make myself stand out from other students. I wanted to gain experience in my field to show enthusiasm and be able to demonstrate the key skills that employers were looking for but I wasn’t really sure how I could do that. This is where the QMentoring programme fitted in, I saw it being advertised via a university email and decided to apply for a place.
Introduction to my mentor
In October of my second year, I received an email confirming my place on the programme. I attended the launch where I got to socialise with other mentors and mentees, which enhanced my confidence through the ice breakers we did, and I got to know more about people in addition to their work/student life. I was excited but also slightly nervous to meet my mentor. I was given no information about them prior to the launch so wasn’t sure quite what to expect.
I met my mentor for the first time and immediately loved the energy I got from her. She was enthusiastic, a good listener and full of ideas but, most importantly, she was able to give me an insight into the possibilities of my career. My mentor works as a writer for a chemistry magazine and she has experience of researching a number of different areas, from nanotechnology to synthetic biology.
Visit to Cambridge
Since my mentor’s workplace is based in Cambridge, the University was able to arrange for me to visit her by paying for my train fare. The day involved a tour of her workplace and a meeting over lunch, which allowed me to discuss a range of things. My mentor used her professional experience to show me how to pinpoint key skills from internships I wanted to apply to and link them back to the extracurricular activities on my CV. I also learnt tips on how to improve my speech for an oral presentation that I had to do for one of my modules, my mentor showed me how to speak in a more engaging way.
I cannot express how supportive and useful this experience has been for me. I would definitely recommend QMentoring to any student who is looking to gain insight on how to stand out from the crowd and bridge the gap between life as a student and an employee.