Student Story: Mahdiyyah’s QMentoring Experience

M1Academic School: Biological and Chemical Sciences

Degree Course: BSc Neuroscience

Current Study Year: Third

Why did you apply for a place on the QMentoring scheme?

I applied for QMentoring because I wanted to get in contact with someone related to my course (Neuroscience), specifically someone within Healthcare/Medicine. I think it is very important to ask questions to people in the field you would like to go into, as you need a practical understanding of the career and to realise the cons as well as the pros of it. Additionally, I wanted a mentor who could guide me to the career I want, as well as to give me holistic advice about what I should be doing right now in and outside of university, to achieve my long-term goals.

You gained work experience as a result of the scheme, can you tell us more about what that involved?

I completed work experience with my mentor and the Neurosurgery team at the Royal London Hospital. This was amazing! I have seen neurosurgeries before when completing work experience a few years ago, but having a mentor on the team was significantly insightful during my time in the operating theatre, as I was comfortable asking him any questions (as well as the rest of the team who were great!) and, as a result, I learnt a great deal. As well as observing operating theatres, I shadowed some of the team during morning and afternoon ward rounds and also spoke to nurses and physiotherapists – this gave me a well-rounded view of life in the NHS, not just as a doctor. That said, speaking to doctors in particular, I gained a real-life appreciation of their work, and how I need to improve myself in order to hopefully become a pronounced future doctor.

What type of professionals were you introduced to via your mentor?

I was introduced to different types of doctors, such as SHOs (Senior Housing Officers), Anaesthetists, Neurosurgeons, as well as other professionals including Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Assistant/Associate Practitioners. This allowed me to see the varied roles within the NHS and how each profession makes a difference to patients in a unique way.

How did the scheme help you gain a better insight into your chosen career path?

I was able to learn about the dedication needed to work in my mentor’s field, as well as things I need to improve on as a person to reach my career goals. We discussed everything from academic targets for me this year, to things I need to push myself to do in my personal life which will help boost my future applications – like uploading posts more frequently on my Neuroscience-based blog, or trying to publish a paper on a topic that I am interested in. My mentor also introduced me to an ex-mentee of his, who is in the position I hope to be in next year, and this really heightened the support I was receiving because she was in my position not too long ago (having completed a similar course to mine at QMUL), her advice was incredibly relatable to me.

How important do you think it is for the university to offer opportunities such as QMentoring?

I think it is very important because sometimes it is difficult for students to find work experience themselves, in the field they would like to work in (especially in hospitals where finding work experience is insanely competitive), or even someone to give them advice about a certain career. Until students receive hands-on experience and discussions with someone who is doing the job they want to do, they will never truly appreciate the realities (good or bad) of their chosen career.

Applications are now open for our next round, which is taking place from October 2018 to April 2019. Please click here to find out more and apply.

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