Mentoring relationships don’t just come to an end when young people leave school: many continue to remain friends and often meet up to catch up or chat about life. That’s exactly what happened between mentee Susanne and mentor Jenny.
In a recent interview, Susanne spoke of the impact Jenny had on her school life when she was facing some tough times:
“Jenny helped me so much in school. I think one thing is my motivation to actually want to go and do well in my exams because she’d always come in and we’d talk about what I needed like my grades, and everything I could do, so then I felt a lot more motivated to actually want to go and do it. Whereas, if I didn’t have someone like that, then I feel not as bothered.
“Even just meeting somebody new, like Jenny, it’s obviously scary at first, because you don’t know the person. But then you build up a relationship and then, that helps you go on and meet other people. And then obviously through MCR as well, you’re able to do so many things that I probably would never have done before. I feel like I’ve become a lot more confident.”
From the beginning of their relationship, Jenny felt that Susanne had so much potential, but just needed someone to reassure her that she was doing the right thing. Jenny says:
“She always knew herself the decisions that she made were always the right decisions, but she probably just needed someone just to say “yeah that is the right thing”, “that is the right path,” “that is the right thing for you.” And I think just to have somebody kind of validate that. But that was always there, she could do all of that herself, and now I think she’s much more confident in herself and in her own decision making.”
As the relationship grew, the two built up a strong rapport:
“We chat about anything. So it’s so rewarding and also it’s so helpful if you’re feeling stressed out and like there’s something that you maybe can’t talk to your mum about or you can’t talk to a teacher, there’s always somebody else there.”
Now the Susanne has left school, Jenny reflects on her mentoring experience and how their relationship has continued to grow, even as Susanne moves on to college:
“We made the conscious decision to keep in touch after the relationship had ended at school and I think we’re both so glad that we did. It’s also that it’s a much more natural way to chat, and build that relationship even more. I think when Susanne got such fantastic results on her Highers, I got the message and it was like “oh you’ll never believe this” and I was at work and I thought “ahhh what is it?” And she told me her results, which were absolutely fantastic. We were then able to go out and celebrate. It was just such a lovely way to end that school journey, but also start a more friendship-type journey. Although we’ve been friends before, this felt like we’ve made this decision to actively stay in touch, and stay friends. That’s been a real positive thing for us.”
A huge thanks to Susanne and Jenny for taking part in this interview and for being filmed, too. At the beginning of this year, Susanne received an unconditional offer to study law at the University of Strathclyde. A phenomenal achievement!
If you’ve been inspired by the pair’s words and wish to get involved, you can #BeTheBridge between a young person’s talent and possibilities. Sign up and become a mentor today!