Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme
Mentored by Dr Rowan Hillson
Tell us a bit about yourself and your mentorship.
Hello all, my name is Dharshini and I am currently intercalating in Women’s Health (between 3rd and 4th year of Medicine). I am deeply appreciative of the ALMP scheme and I have been very privileged to be mentored by Dr Rowan Hillson this past academic year.
We have not talked as often as we both would like, but when we have met it has been delightful. It was incredibly insightful to listen to her experiences of being a doctor, but also her leadership roles throughout the years. Not only was it invaluable to talk about her amazing achievements, it was also reassuring to hear how she approached her goals and maintained a work-life balance. I am grateful for all her advice and continued support during the year, and I look forward to keeping in contact with her in the future.
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
Prior to being accepted onto the ALMP scheme, I was anxious to meet with such impressive figures who have all had many incredible achievements. I realised after my first interaction with my mentor that this was not a daunting experience and felt comfortable straight away. Talking about similar interests definitely helped build a stronger relationship and allowed me to ask any questions with ease.
What is one piece of advice you learnt from your mentor you could share with other students/graduates?
A notable piece of advice from my mentor was to always do something you are interested in, rather than just for gaining an achievement is deemed to be 'useful'. Also, it was refreshing to hear about her hobbies and how she maintained her work-life balance, which is often difficult to do as a doctor.
Can you share any top tips for making the most of the mentoring opportunity and how to be an effective mentee?
My main advice for making the most of the mentoring opportunity is to take initiative, and plan what you want to discuss with your mentor. Some mentors may be good at organising meetings, whereas with others you may have to take the first step. Also, try and highlight a purpose for the meeting and have some questions in your mind that you would like help with.
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
For those thinking about applying to the ALMP scheme, I highly recommend it. Even if you are not clear on your goals in the future (like me), it is very useful to be in contact with someone in a field of interest that could inspire you. Discussions about professional development in a low-pressure, friendly environment has definitely helped me become more confident in what I want to do in the future. It also helps you take initiative and consider what you want to know about the professional environment, or yourself and your goals, that you normally cannot find purely by research.