UCL News


UCL students invited to become mentors to children in local community

20 May 2003

UCL's student mentoring scheme is recruiting volunteers to become role models to schoolchildren in Camden, Islington, Brent and Haringey.

Joachim Groegor

Currently, students dedicate one or two hours a week of their time to mentoring, in order to build constructive relationships with their mentees.

Victor Figueroa Clark

Student mentor Joachim Groegor (Economics 2) said: "At university, it's easy to get immersed in your own studies, a lot of which is abstract. Mentoring is a great way to keep in touch with reality. The pupils are coming from a different environment, so you initially have to find a middle ground, such as music, in order to gain their respect."

Student mentoring demands the use and development of many skills such as listening, communication and leadership. UCL mentors are provided with training in these skills that are of use in wider contexts, and are sought after by employers.

Mr Victor Figueroa Clark, UCL's Student Ambassador Officer, said: "Being a mentor isn't as easy as it sounds: it is tremendously challenging. Some of the young people have entrenched negative attitudes about themselves and others, even those trying to help them. To help these people you need to be dedicated, motivated and enthusiastic about helping others."

Ms Nikhita Mahajan (Philosophy 3), found mentoring extremely rewarding when she worked with two A-level students who had escaped the war in Rwanda. She said: "It's nice to know that you have had a positive impact on someone else's life. Once you have gained their trust, they really take you seriously. My mentees were interested in higher education, so I advised them on their current studies and the opportunities available to them at university."