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Student Blog; Heng (Residence Life Mentor)

By epickersgill 27 Mar 2022

Hi, my name is Heng and this is my 4th year working as a ResLife Mentor. Over the years, I've learnt so many important things doing the job and I think that without it my university experience would have been less fulfilling. There is so much more to this job than the pay check! (but the money certainly helped me pay for rent and food).

From a graduate job-seeker perspective, my experience in ResLife really added to my CV. I gained a lot of qualifications from our continuous training (e.g. mental health awareness, first aid training, safeguarding, etc). ResLife also gave me a lot of real-life examples to talk about in strength-based interviews. More specifically, I think these particular skills really fostered my personal growth and prepared me to enter the graduate labour market:

1: Communication skills

Firstly, ResLife really honed my communication skills as I have to speak to my mentees regularly,  build up and maintain long term relationships. I have spoken to people from all walks of life, and on many very different occasions. Sometimes, the conversations can be extremely difficult. For instance, I have mentored someone with suicidal intentions for half a year; I have held flat meetings and managed conflicting opinions, and used my skills to successfully resolve them. These challenging communications come in different forms as well, from in-person conversations, phone calls, video conferences to writing emails. Hence, I am now able to communicate more effectively and professionally not only to my mentees, but also to my managers and other relevant support services.

2: Time management and prioritisation

Secondly, being a ResLife mentor is a contracted employment with significant time and energy dedications. Yet, my most important duty is to complete my degree. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to balance my student life and my work life. I learnt to organise my schedules and prioritise my commitments: academic deadlines, extracurricular activities and work shifts. In the long run, having a work obligation really helps develop work ethics and build healthy habits (e.g. work-life balance, self-discipline, setting boundaries and saying no). In particular, I have learnt to really reflect on how I spend my time, evaluate my choices and make wiser decisions (e.g. exercise more, sleep better, take initiatives proactively, etc) that can truly contribute to achieving my long-term goals.

3: Multifaceted empathy 

Thirdly, empathy is a really powerful quality. ResLife really opened my eyes to so many people’s lives and trained me to look at things from different perspectives. For example, when I want to help my mentees solve their welfare or conduct problems, I have to really imagine putting myself in their shoes and understand their situations in order to come up with effective solutions. The last thing that I would want to do is to be really insensitive and provoke someone who is going through difficult times and might be very vulnerable. Moreover, interacting with many support workers (e.g. wellbeing officers, mental health services, security, maintenance, reception staff, etc), really makes me realise that solving problems in a working environment usually requires tremendous teamwork. Hence, understanding each other’s difficulties, giving empathy, tolerance and patience, offering negotiations and finding common grounds are incredibly  important practices.

I hope that this blog will spark your interest in becoming a ResLife Mentor! To understand more details and/or apply for the job, please head over to: http://www.residencelife.co.uk/become-a-residence-life-mentor-for-202223_27642

The recruitment window will reopen on 28th March!

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