Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (Dentistry), 2023
Mentored by Dr Barry Cockcroft
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your mentorship and what you gained from taking part in the mentoring scheme.
Hello! My name is Maryam and I’m a fourth-year dental student here at Birmingham. I have had the privilege to be mentored by Dr Barry Cockcroft this year as part of the ALMP mentorship scheme, and I am loving the experience so far. I meet up with my mentor every 2 months or so and that works really well with both our schedules! We usually meet in person which is so refreshing and a much more personal experience in my opinion. So far, I’ve been able to participate in exciting events such as the British Fluoridation Society at the dental hospital and have had the opportunity to talk to previous mentees which has given me insight into the future and my goals.
Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme
“I personally found this experience extremely fulfilling and I feel it has improved my university experience significantly. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in what the future holds for them and their passion.”
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
One piece of advice I would give to future mentees would be to throw yourself into the experience, keep overthinking to a minimum and really engage with and enjoy the process. I remember initially being admittedly excited and also very nervous for my first meeting with Dr Cockcroft, but all nerves dissipated soon after. This is such a valuable experience, and my mentor has been so kind and generous and has a genuine interest in my future and success, so I have learnt to make the most of it and not be intimidated! I learnt to communicate well with my mentor about my challenges and not be afraid to ask questions!
What is one piece of advice you learnt from your mentor that you would share with other students/graduates?
I have learnt so many valuable lessons from my mentor and gained so much insight into the field I’m studying and will be working in, but I would say the life lessons I have learnt from such an accomplished and established individual like Dr Cockcroft, has been the most important part for me. One piece of advice I would share with other students would be to not underestimate the significance of honesty, integrity, generosity in building professional relationships. Listening to the challenges my mentor has come across in his career and how he has overcome them has made this a big learning point for me.
Can you share any top tips for making the most of the mentoring opportunity and how to be an effective mentee?
My top tips for making the most of the mentorship scheme and being an effective mentee would be punctuality and time management. Final/penultimate years are so challenging, and it is difficult to balance the mentorship scheme in addition to all other deadlines and responsibilities. So, it’s important to be organised and make sure to set aside time to reflect on previous meetings and prepare for future ones. Also, it’s useful to be proactive and follow up on any actions since this in itself is a great skill to have and it’s a good opportunity to develop it!
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
I would recommend the ALMP scheme to other students because it’s such a unique experience. It is such a fortunate opportunity to be able to speak to and learn from accomplished individuals in a sector that you’re interested in, and you don’t normally get that opportunity. You can network and create professional relationships for life, and it really is continued support throughout your career. I personally found this experience extremely fulfilling and I feel it has improved my university experience significantly. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in what the future holds for them and their passion.