Liverpool Scholars: mentoring students during a global pandemic

Posted on: 12 March 2021 by Anusha Yoganathan and Blessita Sabu in March posts

Student advocates Anusha Yoganathan and Blessita Sabu

Anusha Yoganathan and Blessita Sabu are students from our School of Medicine, who also work as Student Advocates in the Widening Participation team. Usually this would involve mentoring students face to face, helping with campus tours, creating online videos about their subject of study and giving university tips. In the past few months, they have been working with the Liverpool Scholars, Realising Opportunities and other mentoring groups to support students academically in their subjects - many of whom have had their studies disrupted. Here they tell us how it has been going, and how vital it has been to maintain support for young people and their studies in difficult times.

Anusha

'I’m a 5th year medical student, but I’m currently intercalating in the MRes Clinical Sciences degree. Currently, I provide one-to-one mentoring to a Year 13 student in Biology. We meet via Zoom, and typically have an hour of mentoring twice a week. However, this can change based on what my mentee needs. Sometimes the session can go on for longer, or only once a week. It is totally flexible, and I structure it around what my mentee thinks will be most helpful – this makes sure that she is getting the most out of the sessions.

Medical student Anusha
Fifth year medical student advocate Anusha Yoganathan

In the first session, we discussed what she wants to get out of the mentoring programme, where her strengths and weaknesses lay in the subject and set out a plan to help her tackle the difficulties in Biology. This includes talking about exam technique, revision tips, where to get useful resources, what her learning style is but also where she wants to go for university and what she wants to study! What I enjoy most about the programme is developing good rapport with my student and watching her excel throughout the weeks. She has worked very hard over the last few months and seeing it reflect in her classwork and grades at school is a very rewarding moment!

There are times where I have had to change my mentoring style to suit her way of working, and that has taught me a lot about adapting the way I communicate – especially over Zoom! I think this programme is really remarkable as it supports students who have had their studies affected by the pandemic, to aim for their goals and achieve the grades they need to study the degree they want to at university. This mentoring programme provides support to help students not only with their studies but also give tips from university students and how they can prepare for university life!'

Blessita

'Hi, I’m Blessita, a 2nd year medical student at the University of Liverpool. I have always had an interest in teaching and supporting other students. My journey into medicine was not like a typical medical applicant, and so I wanted to share my experience with other students to show them that if you are determined you can get where you want to be. Mentoring has not only helped me to gain confidence in teaching, but it has also allowed me to support other students through their university application.

Student Blessita Sabu outdoors picture
Second year medical student advocate Blessita Sabu

Each session we focus on one topic for each subject. This could be going through a specific metabolic process or even just looking at exam questions. The sessions are very tailored towards the student which is something I really like.  I enjoy sharing my personal experiences during A-Levels, giving any advice/tips too. You start to build a relationship with the student, and get to know how they learn and revise which helps improve delivering sessions. I also like the flexibility in sessions so we can work around both our timetables.

The mentoring scheme has given students a platform to ask any concerns and questions they have. Usually in a classroom it is quite hard to get that specific support someone might need, and so this programme allows that. Additionally, I think it benefits students a lot when they have some sort of communication with students who have previously gone through A-Levels. They can see what works best and reflect it in their own work.'

'Not only has my experience on the mentoring programme given me the important skills like exam technique and wrapping my head around difficult concepts. My mentor has given me the confidence in myself to overcome the nervousness and worry that comes with it, and to succeed in them.’
Quote from mentee.

Discover more  

Hear from some of our Liverpool Scholars and the impact the scheme has had on them directly.

Follow more stories of our student doctors over on the School of Medicine Newsfeed.