Meteri’s Story

My story with MATES begins as a mentee in 2015 at Aorere College. I chose to be a mentee simply because I knew I needed help with my studies. As a Year 13 student, I was so caught up in the feeling that “this is my last year at high school, let’s make it a good one” that I admittedly was more concerned about making memories, and my schoolwork took a hit.

Meteri was once a mentee - now shes a MATES mentorIt was not exactly ideal when I was hoping to study Law and Arts at university, so ultimately, I took the initiative and applied for MATES.

My mentor and I worked and bonded so deeply over my journey as mentee that she continued to be one of my mentors when I eventually did get into Law school. She is one of my role models, then and now, because our upbringing and our motivations for why we want to become lawyers are some of the reasons that I decided to persevere through my studies.

Having someone who went through what I went through was really encouraging for me because I saw it as “if she can do it, I can too”. That was one of my stand-out aspects of our mentoring relationship.

As a mentee, something I wanted to work on was my academics and time management. With my academics, I was struggling with English. I struggled to understand what exactly my teacher was asking me to do because as far as I was concerned, a pass was a pass.

My mentor was the one who came to me and encouraged me to constantly improve my critical thinking. She used many different examples and constantly questioned me on how to approach things, so that eventually I became a better writer.

Consequently, after a year of practice, I gained an endorsement in English, and was able to apply this type of thinking in my other classes.

When I got into Law School, I was the only one from my high school there. It was a daunting experience at first but the networks that I built at MATES made it more comfortable for me to navigate a space I was unfamiliar with, because my mentor and other MATES mentors there, became my classmates.

Admittedly, my first year was hard because University as a first-year is exciting, challenging and a big adjustment. Nevertheless, I am currently in my fourth year in my Bachelor of Laws and Arts conjoint majoring in Pacific Studies and Philosophy.

My Pacific heritage carries a lot of values, one being service. I wanted to serve my community and I felt that one way I could contribute was to go back to where it started, with MATES.

Luckily enough, I ended up back at Aorere College in my first year of mentoring, with three mentees.

It was an overwhelming moment in my first-year mentoring when my mentees were happy after getting the results they wanted and had worked so hard for. It made me remember why I started mentoring in the first place - to serve my community and give back.

I think the biggest life lesson I can take from this is in the form of a short anecdote my grandfather said to me in high school. He said “a table has four legs, each one of the legs represented an aspect of your life – family, friends, school, work. If one of those legs were to be chopped off, then your table is obviously uneven”.

Basically, it means that if you don’t work to maintain all aspects of your life, if you don’t put in effort to keep your table standing and supported by all legs, then you will eventually fall and be unable to reach your fullest potential.

With that in mind, planning is something that helped me to keep my “table” standing.

I also learnt that it is important to find your “why”. It helps keep you motivated to continue to pursue whatever it is you want to do.

I feel that learning is a forever type of thing; you will always be a learner throughout your life. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Find your passion and embrace it! Serve and mentor others!! It will make the experience much more worthwhile.

Become a Mentor