“Mentoring increased my confidence and optimism and developed my self-reflection skills” A successful conclusion to the group mentoring programme

The group mentoring programme, which began in late November 2018, concluded at Think Corner on a sunny day in May. The event marking the end of the programme on Tuesday, 21 May, provided the participants with opportunities for shared reflection and feedback. Before the next programme begins in autumn 2019, let’s take a moment to look back.

Actors gained confidence and practical insight

A total of 107 students from various faculties participated in the programme as actors. At the wrap-up session, they explained that the programme had, first and foremost, increased their confidence and trust in their skills:

  • “I gained confidence, learned about myself and became more curious about the job market.”
  • “I am now much more aware of my strengths, not just my weaknesses.”
  • “Mentoring increased my confidence and optimism and developed my self-reflection skills.”

Many of the actors also said that their optimism about the future and their confidence in their skills increased through, for example, peer support:

  • “Mentoring made me believe in myself and in (work-related) things turning out well when you put in an appropriate amount of effort.”
  • “Great conversations – I know I’m not alone in facing the challenges ahead!”
  • “Mentoring has made me more optimistic about the future.”

As in previous years, the mentors provided many practical tips for job-seeking and employment. Several actors decided to make the most of the advice offered, and some have already achieved concrete results, for example, in their job hunt.

  • “The hours you put in do not reflect your effectiveness.”
  • “During the programme, I found a traineeship, got a letter of recommendation and a job interview, and developed the confidence to try and contact people.”
  • “The mentoring gave me little practical tips concerning the culture of my field.”
  • “I’m now going to take the plunge and start looking for a job!”

Mentors also learned valuable lessons

At the wrap-up session, the mentors, all of whom were University of Helsinki alumni, had the opportunity to share their experiences not only with their group, but also with each other. Some of the 30 mentors who participated in the programme had also taken part in previous years. The mentors had many words of encouragement for their actors:

  • “Don’t be afraid of being yourself. You’ll do great!”
  • “Believe in yourself! Your knowledge and skills are not limited to what you have acquired through your degree.”
  • “Have dreams, make plans and follow them. There’s no limit to what you can achieve!”

At its best, mentoring is a two-way learning process. Accordingly, the mentors said that the process had clarified their thoughts and increased their self-knowledge.

As for the future of the programme, the mentors proposed that the University organise some kind of mentoring training before the actual programme begins. This feedback will be taken into account when planning the next programme. The mentors also wished that the University would engage its alumni more extensively in its activities.

  • “The University could also systematically use the professional experience of alumni in the form of a course.”
  • “The University should offer a course lasting throughout the degree programme and explaining the professional world to students.”

A comment on the development of career paths summarised the results of the mentoring programme:

  • “Everyone has a unique career path. Believe in your strengths and find your own path, don’t be afraid of detours or even the occasional step backward.”

A new programme to begin in autumn 2019

As of this autumn, the group mentoring programme will be offered for the ninth time. Prospective mentors who have graduated from one of the University of Helsinki faculties and currently work in various roles can submit their applications in August and September. Information on the application process will be provided through the University’s alumni channels and on this site.

Students can submit their applications later in the autumn, after information on the application process has been published in the group mentoring blog and Career Services’ communication channels. Career Services and Helsinki Alumni would like to thank all the mentors and actors for contributing to the success of the latest programme and wish them an inspiring summer!

Text and pictures: Miika Mertanen