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What's so great about being a Residence Mentor?

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Interested in applying for the Residence Mentor role for the academic year 2018/19? Find out what some of last years’ Residence Mentors have to say about the role…

Residence Life Coordinator (Support & Conduct), Victoria Cliffe, interviewed four Residence Mentors from 2016/2017 to find out what they loved about their role.

Who did we ask and what were they studying?

Colina Archie-Pearce (Residence Mentor for a second year!) – Studying for a Masters in Physician Associate Studies

Damien Mangan – Studying for a BA in History & Hispanic Studies (Year 4)

Simone Smith – Studying for a BA in Modern Languages (Year 4)

Christopher Shelton – Studying for a Masters in Translational Studies

What did they say?

What is the best thing about being a Residence Mentor?

“It is a very flexible job compared to other jobs that I have had previously!”

“You know exactly when you are working well in advance and you don’t always work the same day every week.”

“The relationship that you build with your students - you get to help so many people.”

“The free rent!”

“I really enjoy seeing things from a different perspective.”

“You get to relive your first year when you lived in the accommodation and get to pass on your wisdom to your students.”

“It was a real confidence boost – I get to see how far I have come since my first year.”

Why did you apply to be a Residence Mentor?

“To give something back and to contribute to student’s experience of the accommodation.”

“To gain valuable skills and work experience, whilst being able to have a job that gives you holidays off!”

“There are no travel costs – you live where you work.”

“A great opportunity to save money and also make a whole new friendship group.”

What skills have you developed through Induction and being a Residence Mentor? How might the skills you have learned benefit you in the future? How have they benefitted your academics?

“Being calm in stressful situations.”

“Confidence. You have to put yourself out there and talk to all of the students that you visit, you have to convince them that you know what you are doing.”

“I can now talk to absolutely anybody.”

“My communication has improved. It is really important to give out information clearly and you have to reiterate a lot of things.”

“Teamwork, organisation, learning to balance my academics with my work commitments and being able to get along with lots of different people and personalities.”

“Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills as you have to help resolve lots of little disputes. You learn to be very fair when dealing with things from an outside perspective.”

“The Induction sessions were really helpful. It really helped me to be able to do the job: First Aid, data protection and info about support available to students.”

“Adaptability – every flat visit is different. You never know what you might end up talking about.”

What is your favourite part of the Residence Mentor role?

“Seeing my students and chatting to them, getting to know everybody’s interests.”

“Building up the relationship that I have with all of my students – I get to feel that I’m really making a difference.”

“The responsibility that I have for my students.”

“Working with a team of Mentors – I really feel a part of something!”

“The development of my skills, planning and being organised. The interview process experience was helpful too: I had never been interviewed before so this really helped me with interviews that I have had for jobs after Uni.”

What has surprised you most about the role?

“During Induction, we took part in role play scenarios to practise talking about welfare issues that students might experience. At first I thought these were really exaggerated but, after doing the role and visiting students, I know that they were not an exaggeration.”

“Not much surprised me. I went to an info session and the interview process gave me a lot of information about what to expect.”

“The flexibility of the role – shift swapping is not a problem!”

“How much you can really help someone even with simple things, I have talked to students about cooking, cleaning and laundry – it’s really fun to help explain these things to someone.”

What is it like living with the people you work with?

“We are all doing the same thing. We all understand the role and that everyone works 15 hours a week. We respect each other.”

“It is really social. I live and work with my friends; we are all similar types of people.”

“Amazing.”

“The shifts are 6pm till midnight but don’t let this put you off! You can always fit in things when you finish or on other nights of the week. You end up socialising with other Mentors anyway”

What is the workload like to manage - balancing your academics and Mentoring?

“My academics are 9pm-5pm on Monday-Friday and then Mentoring is only 2 nights of the week. It’s really not too bad!”

“I manage it because I keep myself organised. I write everything down and I know when and where I’m supposed to be – my whole life is planned out, even my personal life too!”

“Your work schedule is planned out so far in advance that it is really easy to plan your academics around this. And you can always swap a shift if you need to work towards an academic deadline.”

What was your experience of the interview process?

“I really enjoyed it although it was quite tough in places. It was my first real interview ever; it was very realistic and it gave me a good experience for further interviews.”

“The interviews allowed me to meet other people who were applying for the same role and this helped me to start making friends.”

“Residence Life were very flexible; they scheduled the interviews at a time that was convenient for me.”

“For people that were abroad they even arranged Google Hangout interviews!”

Do you have any advice to people who are thinking of applying but are not sure whether they are the right fit?

“Apply. Just go for it - it can’t hurt. You will definitely find people in your team that you get along with. The free accommodation is super beneficial.”

“Don’t be put off applying! Apply now and don’t miss out because you might end up regretting it. If you don’t enjoy the interviews and then decide the role is not for you, you don’t have to be a Residence Mentor!”

Any tips for people applying? And for the interview process?

“Really remember to use your past experience to your advantage – whether it is work, academic or home life.”

“For the interview – just be yourself, let your personality shine through.”

“Don’t see the other people during the group interview as your competition but work together! You could all get the role!”

“Remember to speak up but not to the detriment of others. Be nice as you could always end up on the same team.”

“Have a look at the Residence Life website and familiarise yourself with support services at the University.”

Interested in applying?

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of Colina, Damien, Simone and Christopher? Keep a look out for more information on the application process over the next few months. Applications will open in November 2017.

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