Finding Your Path at University with the Help of a Student Mentor
The benefits of connecting with a student mentor who's been through it all before!
By Sophie P, fourth-year Kinesiology student
If you don't know what your career goals are going into university, you are not alone!
I'm a fourth-year university student at the University of Guelph-Humber (UofGH) looking forward to my future, but it wasn't always that way. It took me a couple of years to discover what I wanted to do for my career. I credit the University's Mentorship Program with guiding my aspirations.
The University of Guelph-Humber's Mentorship Program is available to all students. You are matched to a mentor — someone who graduated from your program and who is working in a related field. They sat in the same lecture seats, met your professors, wrote exams and wrestled with the same issues as you… so you can imagine the rich advice and experience they have to share.
You can use your mentorship to start growing your network, and ask questions you've always wanted to know about a certain career and the steps and challenges to get there. Or maybe, like me, you really have no clue! In that case, they can provide insight into their journey, which can help nudge you one step closer to identifying your career plans.
In my second year, I was matched with a UofGH Kinesiology graduate who is studying medicine in Dublin, Ireland. I met with her bi-weekly through video calls and occasionally in person when she returned from her studies. (The amount of time and frequency of your meetings is up to you and your mentor.) Prior to each meeting, I would compile and reflect on questions regarding her path to medicine (e.g., challenges of being a medical student, what led her to pursue this career and why). I asked for advice about securing a placement, filling out medical school applications, and how to be successful in studying. I realized that my passions were similar to what she was doing at medical school and it became obvious where I wanted to focus my future.
I am passionate about working with patients and learning more about health and disease. Because this is a very broad interest, I wanted advice and insight to focus in on a specific career. Listening to my mentor describe what a career as a doctor meant to her — the unyielding passion of educating and identifying poor health amongst vulnerable patient communities — helped me realize that I was very interested in doing the same. I now know that I want to attend medical school to help educate, identify and treat vulnerable patients within my community so that they can continue enjoying their lives with their loved ones.
Go after the support you need
I tapped into the Mentorship Program and used other services on campus — the University provides so much support for students! Career Services, for example, provides networking opportunities, career planning advice and help with finding and preparing you for placement.
In a nutshell: If you don't know where your career might be headed, that's okay! There are support services and programs at UofGH that will make your career path easier to navigate as you embark on a journey at the University of Guelph-Humber!
Check out UofGH's Mentorship Program