When Anatomy student Emma Jackson tweeted about her enlightening meeting with her mentor, and how she would never have found them without The Network, we at the Careers Service naturally wanted to know more!
About to meet my mentor for the first time, excited @UofGCareers!
— Emma Jackson (@emm__jackson) June 4, 2018
It was a very enlightening meeting, I am more confident in my choices of subjects towards my career path and have also been able to get some lab experience during the summer to build confidence in my lab skills! Very worthwhile, & I wouldn’t have met them without the Network! TY!
— Emma Jackson (@emm__jackson) June 4, 2018
So, we bribed her with coffee and asked her all about it.
How did you find out about The Network?
I remember taking half an hour when I started first year to look at the Careers Service website, and that’s where I found The Network. I wanted to get some advice and maybe some experience in research, and I really liked the idea of networking exclusively with Glasgow Uni alumni. I joined some groups and took some time between classes to fill out a profile, making sure it looked professional.
Emma’s Top Tip: Be Confident!
Don’t be afraid to big yourself up a little on your profile, it’s your chance to show potential mentors that you have a great work ethic and that you’re passionate about your goals and your achievements.
How did you go about finding your mentor?
I had a look at the different groups on The Network, then played about with the ‘People Search’ section. I spent a bit of time looking at people’s profiles to get to know them and even Googled some people to find out more about their research. I saw that one of the Anatomy lecturers, Dr Bailey, was a mentor and that she had experience in the kind of research I’m interested in, so I reached out to her on The Network and asked her to mentor me. It was really easy to do, you just have to click ‘Request Mentorship’.
Emma’s Top Tip: Be Persistent!
Some people didn’t reply but don’t let that deter you, keep looking on The Network for new members who you might like to contact, it’s growing all the time.
How did you feel about contacting mentors?
I approached several people before I found a suitable mentor. I was really out of my comfort zone to begin with, terrified I was going to get a reply telling me I wasn’t worthy of their time or worse, no reply. I even hit send on one email with my eyes shut! I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone I have spoken to on The Network has been very helpful and encouraging.
What was it like meeting with your mentor?
I met with Dr Bailey shortly after my first year finished up. I had a list of questions and I wanted to know more about her cardiovascular research. She told me about her journey into research and it was really inspiring to hear about her career progress.
Emma’s Top Tip: Be Proactive!
When I approached my mentor I was prepared and knew what I wanted to get out of meeting them. Being a mentee isn’t about just waiting for someone to coach you, you have to be proactive!
How has having a mentor helped you?
I wouldn’t have been able to speak to someone so frankly about research if not for The Network, and I got some great advice. Talking about my career goals so early on has helped make sure I am on the right path; my degree subject is suitable for my career goal but maybe not the best one, and I wouldn’t have known that without talking to my mentor.
I also spoke to my mentor about wanting to build up my lab skills, and she arranged for me to get some experience in the Histology lab to learn more about Histology (that’s using microscopes to study cells and tissues), and build my confidence.
What are your career plans now?
I am really hoping to go into cardiovascular research after my degree to work on the creation/regeneration of cardiovascular tissue. I have a lot more confidence in succeeding now I have spoken to my mentor about my plans. It seems so simple but having someone tell you that your goals are achievable is really motivating and I’m excited to get back to Uni to continue with my degree.
What would you say to other students thinking about joining The Network?
Just sign up and have a look about. There’s no obligation to contact anyone and no one knows if you’ve been viewing their profile. Have a look at mentors who are in the same groups as you, this is a good place to start when looking for people with similar interests. Every time I check The Network there are more new members, so keep looking, your perfect mentor might be signing up right now!