Fatimath Bawa-Allah, MSc International Business and Human Resource Management
How did you find out about Dare to Be mentoring?
I initially found out about Dare to Be Mentoring before I arrived at DMU. I was doing my research on the university and while I was at it, I came across a video of DMU mentoring on the website and I was eager to take advantage of the opportunity.
Why did you decide to take part?
I was interested in the mentoring scheme because I knew it was a valuable opportunity that was easily accessible and would improve my learning experience. Being an international student, I was willing to take advantage of any opportunity to improve myself personally and professionally.
What skills or qualities did you want to develop?
I was looking to improve my emotional intelligence and confidence. Naturally, I am a driven individual with an independent thought process but I am also aware that I do not know it all. Having a mentor helped me to receive corrective feedback and reinforce my own ideas. I was able to believe more in myself and my mentor was very instrumental on this journey.
What was the first meeting with your mentor like?
I was very excited to meet my mentor because I had met her at the initial pairing session. We were given the opportunity to meet with different potential mentors, which was something akin to a speed dating session. After the final pairing was done, we were put in contact via email and we set up a date to meet. The first official meeting was held at the coffee shop in the student union building. We spoke about ourselves in order to establish an open communication. I found my mentor to be very warm and friendly. She was very easy to talk to and one thing I remember she said is that I reminded her of herself when she was my age which made her more relatable.
How has mentoring helped you?
Mentoring has helped me improve my communication and relationship building skills. For me, it wasn’t just about the monthly meeting with my mentor. We also became friends. It was wonderful to have someone to reach out to who was willing to spare their time to listen to me and help me through difficult phases. I have certainly developed more accountability, given that I had to report my progress and shortcomings to a more experienced person who was as invested in my growth as I was.
What has been the best thing about mentoring?
The best thing about mentoring was being able to share my high and lows with a wonderful individual who saw me for who I was and who I could become.
What advice would you give to other students considering taking part?
I would totally recommend it. Although it requires effort sustaining the mentoring relationship, I believe it is a scheme that adds value especially if you are an international student. It is a good opportunity to build a healthy relationship with someone who knows the system and is offering to share their knowledge.