Our mentees’ stories

Getting the right information and advice at a crucial time can really change a young person’s chances in life, as some of our mentees’ stories show:

‘Online mentoring really puts you at the top of the game.’

India Stacey

For India Stacey, the offers of places at her chosen universities she now holds are proof that online mentoring really can change people’s lives. That’s because, when the aspiring modern languages student took her A-levels, she was suffering from anorexia, meaning she ended up with far lower grades than she should have achieved. ‘I was really tired and my concentration was awful,’ she remembers. ‘But my mentor explained how I could get them re-marked due to mitigating circumstances. That meant my grades were all marked up and I don’t think I’d have had my offers if it hadn’t been for her.’ Saying that she began online mentoring ‘because I wanted every possible chance to get into a good university’, India’s A-level results really are the start of a dream come true for her. ‘Online mentoring really helped me to get through the problems I had. It’s reaffirmed all my beliefs about how important it is to go to university.’

‘Without my mentor I’d probably be sitting around doing nothing but thanks to her advice I now have a clearer idea of my future.’

Muhammed Irsalan (inspiring mentee)

My mentor told me that tomorrow is a different day and – no matter what happens – to keep on track,’ Muhammed Irsalan recalls of his time on the NHS Online Mentoring scheme. ‘She said you can always change your future but if you decide to stop now that’s your problem because you’ve done that for yourself.’ Words that the Derby-based student took to heart when, as well as struggling with his studies, he was also dealing with some difficult personal issues at home. Muhammed was also unsure about whether to pursue his interest in nursing after some had told him it wasn’t ‘masculine’ enough. ‘I really wasn’t confident but my mentor’s messages really motivated me, especially when she told me that it was my career and it was up to me what I did. There are always opportunities in the world but it’s up to you to grasp and use them in the right way.’ Something Muhammed has now done by applying to study nursing, a decision he says he couldn’t have taken without his mentor’s support. ‘Mentoring has definitely changed my life,’ he believes. ‘Without my mentor I’d probably be sitting around doing nothing but thanks to her advice I now have a clearer idea of my future.’

‘Medicine is really tough but having someone to turn to means you won’t get stuck on the way.’

Cerys Daniels

‘She encouraged me to really go for it,’ Cerys Daniels believes. ‘I honestly don’t think I’d be here without her push.’ Cerys is talking about the mentor who supported her as part of Imperial College’s Bright Journals programme, where Cerys is now in her second year of a medicine degree, something that seemed a distant dream when she first signed up as a mentee. ‘I was the first person in my family to consider anything medicine-related and my school wasn’t much help,’ she explains. ‘I was pretty clueless so it was really important for me to have someone I could ask about what I needed to do to get into medicine. She inspired me to go to Imperial.’ Now, as a mentor on the same programme, Cerys is inspiring younger students herself. ‘I realised that if I was confused at that age there were other people who must feel the same way. It really helped me so I thought it would be fantastic to give something back by helping others.’

Of course, none of Brightside’s success stories would be possible without the advice and encouragement provided by our mentors, who also get plenty of their own rewards out of mentoring, as well as playing an essential role in helping someone else achieve their ambitions.

‘Getting the news that one of your mentees has got into the university of their choice is always really nice because you feel like a real team and that all your hard work has paid off.’ Mentor, University of Nottingham

‘Online mentoring was not only a huge confidence boost for my mentee but also focused me on my own studies and made me really grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.’ Mentor, Realising Opportunities

‘My mentees can ask me things that teachers might not know the answers to because they might not have worked in industry. It gives you real satisfaction to use that knowledge to help someone who really appreciates it.’ Mentor, Bright Links Engineering

‘I really like putting young people into an environment where they understand the language of business, so they can talk about it in the right way, because that’s so important for their careers. Online mentoring also teaches you to be dynamic with your time when you’re balancing it around a busy career.’ Mentor, The Big Deal