Little did I know, on applying to be part of the University’s Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP), that some months after I would find myself in the company of a Knight taking in the rather glorious surrounds of the House of Lords.
I originally applied to the ALMP in order to enlist the support of a Mentor who could help me best utilise the achievements I have had at University to date. Following a written application and – thankfully not-too scary – interview I was fortunate enough to be paired up with Professor Sir Charles George. A doctor by trade, and eminent scientist and medical politician to boot, Sir Charles has an excellent record in many of the areas in which I wish to focus my career. It was thus with some trepidation and, if I’m honest, an evolving sense of inferiority, that I set out to send my own ‘auto-biography’ to this formidable medical giant.
I was not to be let loose with Sir Charles before receiving training, however, and spent a Wednesday afternoon learning everything from SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats; should you wish to know) analysis to the importance of professional communication. Armed with this training, and encouraged by the support of the careers and employability centre, I began to consider what I wished to achieve from partaking in this programme.
Not wishing to leave me to dwell, however, I was soon contacted by the University and invited to meet my mentor (something I was already nervous about) at a fundraising reception in the House of Lords (to compound my nerves, I could only imagine). Some days later then, and in contrast to my usual Friday evening activities, I toured the House of Lords and House of Commons before discussing my career with my mentor. My initial feeling of inferiority quickly dissipated and to have been provided with the opportunity to stand in the company of my mentor and many other inspiring alumni, with such a rousing backdrop, was an experience I shall not forget.
I have since communicated with my mentor via email, sharing our common experiences (of which there are surprisingly many) and discussing forthcoming job applications and pertinent career aspects. I am confident that Sir Charles will not only allow me to capitalise on the achievements I have had to date, but that his help will provide me with support to create greater opportunities for myself as I draw closer to working life.