Mentorship – valuing the indispensable skill set key to academic and workplace development.
During my time as a student at Dublin City University at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, mentorship has been a central part of my continued development. Whether that be officially through mentorship programmes or simply engaging with others in further years of study, I am always fascinated by the quality and quantity of effortless knowledge share available. This year I had the privilege of returning as a mentor on the DCU Structured Mentorship Programme. I was able to appreciate the benefits of being on the other side of the conversation, guiding and encouraging mentees to be the best versions of themselves. While sharing my learnings and acumen to date, it reminded me of my journey and how far I have come since being a mentee myself. For example, conquering the demands and pressures of final year exams and consequentially securing full-time employment.
As most will agree, this was a particularly important year for mentees on the program, considering the disruptions to academic and everyday life caused by the global pandemic. Chaos ensued with the transition to a remote learning module which is still alien to most and far removed from the need for regular personal interactions. Yet, while the delivery may have changed, rapid learning and delivering in intense examinations remained the same.
Often overlooked and underappreciated with the demands of cyclical examination, mentorship helped me realise the importance of various soft skills. Communication, Adaptability, Leadership, Teamwork, Time Management, Organisation and Collaboration skills by nature are tough to examine. However, with the increasing levels of education and third-level undergraduate degrees now the minimal requirement for most employment opportunities, these soft skills helped me differentiate myself from other prospective candidates when pursuing employment opportunities. This will continue now and, in the future, regardless of the evolution in modern working or academic arrangements accelerated by the pandemic. Mentoring provides the opportunity to practice, evolve and mature these skills in an environment fostering learning and growth.
Both sides of the mentorship spectrum (mentor and mentee) continue to and always will have their place in my life, helping me realise and fulfil my potential academically, professionally, personally and in sport. Therefore, I encourage both students and alumni to proactively engage with mentorship opportunities in any and every aspect of their life, exchanging experiences and learnings in a supportive environment, enhancing the chances of success in future endeavours.
Author: Sean Brady, BA Business Studies 2018 / Grad Cert in Business Management 2021
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