RahuiRahui’s Story

I am from a family of six children and am aspiring to be an engineer. In my final year of school, I signed up to be a MATES mentee. I really didn’t know what a ‘mentee’ was meant to be like, so I really went in with few expectations.

I wanted academic help more than anything, which I received, but I also made a good friend out of it as well. I ended up working with two mentors in my time as a MATES Senior mentee.

My first mentor was a quiet young woman who was studying engineering. She gave me a ‘real’ perspective into what studying engineering was like, and this helped me ensure I was 100% certain that I wanted to do engineering.

Halfway through the year, I got a second mentor, who did Health Science. She seemed to love what she did, was very lively, and was always willing to have a chat with me.  Year 13 was a rough year for me, but it was always a delight to see her; she gave me a break from my own stresses.

I am now in my fourth year out of a six-year conjoint degree and I decided I needed to start getting back into community work, instead of just focusing on myself. I genuinely like getting to work with people, and so I decided to give back and help other students academically and socially by becoming a MATES mentor myself.

When I started out as a mentor, I was a little nervous as I wasn’t too sure what my mentees wanted from me, but what I experienced as a mentee helped me learn to interact with students as a mentor.

Eventually, I realised that the mentoring relationship is really what my mentees wanted more than anything else. Building the relationships was a gradual process - I had to constantly remind my mentees to just ask me questions when they wanted to, even if I was in the middle of writing something.

My mentees are amazing people, whenever it was hard to engage with the quiet one, they helped a lot.

My quietest mentee eventually opened up a lot and talks to me without being prompted. He goes out of his way to ask me questions, without me having to sit there and wait or ask him if he needs help. He’s not loud or anything, but I feel like we are comfortable enough that he laughs at my dry humour.

Now, all of them are so independent; I probably wouldn’t have been able to learn Level 3 calculus on my own, but they DO. I don’t think they are as scared of life after school anymore.

They have always been amazing students, but I think they know that now, and don’t second guess themselves anymore.

For me, MATES gave me a chance to slowly get back into community work, and it feels great. I can’t thank my mentees enough for how amazing they are! With mentoring, I think the biggest thing I learned is that you just must be there and show you care. Just make that effort to show them you want to be there, and they will surprise you. Just be willing to try!

Giving back to young people is probably the greatest thing I have done while I’ve been at University. Looking back on my own journey, I realised that my mentors had a greater effect on my academic and personal development than I realised. Whether it was just someone to talk to or be there when I needed help, they were always there for me.

I only hope that I was able to do that with my mentees, and to let them always know they are amazing young people with so much potential, and I can’t wait to see the heights they will reach.

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