When I first applied to the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Scheme I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do after graduation, I really need some direction and I needed it soon! After a successful application I was so excited to be mentored by Baroness Doreen Massey a Life Peer member of the House of Lords and an Education graduate of UoB. I originally planned to go in to Social Work but after volunteering in this field over summer I was no longer sure. I was still keen to get input from Doreen as I knew she had been involved in policies that overlapped with issues surrounding social work. However, after an impromptu visit to a school I found myself wanting to be a primary school teacher and so I was even more excited for my first meeting with Doreen since a large part of her career had been in Education.
The first meeting we had was early on in Term One and this centred on getting to know each other and what I wanted to get out of the mentor mentee relationship. I explained that while I had figured out what I wanted to do and begun applications I still felt under prepared to make the transition from university into employment and would appreciate her guidance and advice from her time in Education. The second meeting we spent putting together a personal statement. This was useful not just for UCAS applications but also for helping me to think through all the experiences I had gained.
We had also planned two further meetings but these were postponed due to problems out of our control. We plan to meet at least one more time but nonetheless the whole experience from application to meeting Doreen has been so worthwhile.
Kristina Wright, 3rd Year BA Social Policy
So far Cilla has been incredibly helpful to me, particularly during my ongoing job hunt. Unfortunately Cilla has been unwell so we have been unable to meet since our last meeting at the end of January. However, at that meeting she was really helpful, giving me advice on how to progress on a lead I have for a job. In this meeting I learnt a bit more about Cilla’s role at the University as a member of the alumni, and we spoke about how many of her past mentees received unhelpful feedback on their work – something I can relate to!
One of the most important things Cilla has taught me is to not let stress affect me. She reminded me that at the end of university, once in your first job, there is little difference between a 2:1 and a first, so I shouldn’t let the difference get me down.
I have a job interview in the coming week so Cilla has given me some advice in how to prepare for this, such as what specific things she knows this agency would expect me to know. She also reminded me to be myself and express a point of view. She seems genuinely interested in how I’m progressing and I feel comfortable knowing that I can go to her with questions and for advice.
Molly Feely, 4th Year BA Modern Languages
I met with Tamsin Grieg on 30th March at the National Theatre in London before her performance of ‘Twelfth Night’. We chatted in the café before the show and discussed my recent improvements with drama school auditions. She was really helpful in guiding me to pick a school that works best for me and even said she would introduce me to Daniel Ezra (another member of the cast) after the show. Daniel went to East 15, which is the school I will also be attending in September to do MA Acting. We also discussed my modules at University and it was really helpful to have an outsider’s perspective on my final year project, let alone a professional actor. She gave me some interesting things to research and look at that can also enhance my work.
After the show I went backstage to the green room bar and met the cast, it was so exciting to be in the presence of so many talented actors. Tamsin then introduced me to Daniel and he gave me an insight to what it is like to be a student at East 15. He made me feel so much more excited and comfortable that I have made the right decision. This meeting was another confirmation that I am doing the right thing in following what I have always wanted to do and gave me hope that one day it could be me performing. It is exhilarating to think I am coming to the end of my third year and am about to start on the road to becoming a professional actor.
Jessica Robjohns, 3rd Year BA Drama and Theatre Arts
Since my last blog, Phyllida’s trio of all-female Shakespeare plays have finished their run in the UK, and gone to Broadway and completed their run there. Despite all of this, Phyllida has been in contact regularly through email and voice messages whilst meeting face-to-face would be difficult.
Throughout the emails and messages, my mentor and I have been continuing discussing what path to a career would be the best course of action, and how to make myself as desirable for an acting career as possible regardless of the path there. Phyllida has advised me what courses and schools to pursue, as well as what skills and experiences I ought to cultivate to make myself as ready and desirable as possible for courses and an acting career.
My mentor has also offered to give me one-to-one direction on any audition pieces I would like to prepare for auditions, which is an invaluable offer. And when I come to preparing my audition pieces, I will be sure to take it up. Alongside my visits to see Phyllida working in rehearsal twice last term, and see her shows, I have a better idea of a professional rehearsal room, and what I need to do to get there myself.
Erin Quilliam, 3rd year BA Drama / English Lit
This final term at university has been a bit of a crazy one, between balancing job applications, part-time work, sports and my dissertation. Resultantly, most of my contact with my mentor Valerie this term has just been via email. However, both Valerie and her business partner Amanda have been continuously supportive, particularly on the job applications front.
Amanda kindly helped me with my presentation for a graduate job interview back in February which I unfortunately did not get a position on. However, on the same day I was rejected from that, I also found out I have got a place on the HR Graduate Scheme with Ford! In my interview for Ford I talked about current issues within HR that I had specifically learnt from Valerie and Amanda, as well as what I’d seen and learnt from shadowing at the BBC’s HR Service centre thanks to them too.
It was therefore great that my increased understanding of HR as a result of this mentoring relationship had finally shown. I’m now looking forward to my next meeting with Valerie in a few weeks’ time, which I’m hoping to focus upon how to progress once I’m in my new role.
Katie Jones, 3rd Year BA American Studies/History