Featured image shot by Oliver Zhao
Back in September, I was thinking about what I wanted to do after undergrad, and my mind went blank. My dream is to be an author, I knew that. But what will I actually do after I graduate?
Since first year I’ve been subscribed to the Woodsworth College newsletter and they announced that they were running their alumni-students mentorship program. A U of T student who’s part of Woodsworth College would get paired with a U of T alumni for one-on-one mentoring throughout the academic year. It gives students in their undergrad a chance to explore career options and get advice from a pool of alumni who are in a variety of different career professions. For me, this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.
I had a few different career options in mind from book publishing to academia. I wanted to see what was out there in the workforce outside of what I knew. When you’re a humanities student, the same two career options are shoved in your face: teacher and lawyer. While I’m interested in academia and the career path of a professor, I know there’s more variety of careers for humanities students and the alumni-students mentorship program gives you that opportunity to explore them.
The Woodsworth Alumni-Students Mentorship Program involves a straightforward process for meeting your mentor. First, I filled out an online form; it asked for my basic information, my program, and my career interests. I also attended an information session before I booked a meeting with one of the program heads. In that meeting, they asked me why I wanted to do the mentorship and what I wanted to get out of it and they also wanted to know my specific interests. After that meeting, they matched me with my mentor.
My mentor is a Ph.D. student in a humanities program. I went into our first meeting expecting that I’ll be asking a lot of questions and carrying the conversation. I was pleasantly surprised when she took the time to get to know me as a person and told me what she could offer me as a mentor. When we discussed career paths, she approached it from the angle of my own skills and passions and what I could do with them. I gained a lot out of that first session and thought about post-grad in a way I hadn’t before. My mentor offered to help me with my graduate applications and gave advice on when to prepare and how to approach them.
Having a mentor feels like I have another support for my academics. Our meetings are not only about discussing career paths but are also focused on building a strong mentor-mentee relationship. While every mentor is different, I can say that doing a mentorship program is worth a shot. As I continue to have meetings with my mentor, my confidence in my future grows.
To find more mentorship opportunities at U of T visit https://studentlife.utoronto.ca/service/mentorship-database/.