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What would you like to have known during your first year and first days at our university that you know now and did your mentor help you in that? It may be a bit stupid answer, but the first days I would have really liked to know how you could get in the university library because I was a bit afraid and didn’t know where to go and where to sit there. It’s really easy I notice now, but I just was a bit scared in the first days to go there. Well, I think that besides your study, there are so many ways to develop yourself. And developing yourself doesn’t only exist about studying in books, but there are so many opportunities.
Being a student assistant, or doing a committee, doing a board year, and that makes that you can really develop yourself and I wish that I had known that more early. Well, one thing is there are always things that are going wrong inside the classroom. And I think one way that I would liked to have known is how can I reach my teacher, how can I reach the educational committee, and all the other bodies inside the university that deal with complaints and that are willing to improve the university and the educational programme. Well, I guess probably the first thing as an international I noticed is that the style of teaching here is quite different.
There is a lot more emphasis on reading of articles and a kind of self-directed study which has its pros and cons. But I think if you just assume that every academic culture is the same the world over, it can be a little bit of a little bit of a shock. It took me way to long to discover this coffee corner here. It’s very cheap coffee for very good quality. I think my mentor could have pointed out that a good and healthy lifestyle is important. Like having enough sleep and don’t party too much because, if you party too much, then your whole student study is suffering.
If I’m writing a paper, how do I get books from the library, what kind of books, how should I search for these books. I think these could be very informative things. Maybe it would have been nice to get some hints, tips or lessons on how to properly structure your notes and that kind of thing. And how to study at all, in general, just how to go through a lot of stuff in a limited period of time. The university is quite a big organisation so sometimes it’s hard when you run into problems or something like that, it’s hard to get an answer, So, for me it should be more useful to know where to go when you have a problem.
So more information about student’s advisor and that kind of stuff. Yes, like the classes. The classes where your lessons will be. That’s also hard to find sometimes because on the schedule, on the internet, you see numbers for the class or the building and I was like, which building is this? So, they have to make it a little easier to find the right buildings with the right numbers. The fact that you don’t have to read everything twice and really carefully, but that you only need to focus on the main points in a text because it takes up so much of your time if you want to read everything and do everything. That’s just way too much.
Just focus on the main things. And the main things always come back when you have PowerPoint and stuff like that, so that really helps as well. The amount of international people that are hanging around was quite illuminating and helped me overcome any prejudices. I’d liked to have known how to register for courses because that was very difficult for me to do that. What I would liked to have known is that there so much that you can personalise about the electronic learning environment.

We would like to conclude the topic on being a mentor with this video in which 14 students share their ‘hindsights’ with you.

First-year students at the end of the academic year often say “I wish I had known this sooner”. We also often hear it from students in later years who reflect back on their first year of being a student. As a mentor, you could anticipate this by sharing this information with your mentor group. Watch the video and find out what the students would like to have known when they started university life.

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Becoming a Student Assistant: Teaching and Mentoring

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