There are many potential benefits of mentoring others; it can provide a sense of satisfaction, and offering to be a mentor can help build a stronger community. As a PGR peer mentor, you can develop your technical and interpersonal skills. My primary job functions have been within health and well-being and educational institutions. However, skills are transferrable to other subject areas. Currently, I am a full-time PhD student moving towards my final phase. My research background seeks to understand the use of non-pharmacological interventions, especially for people living with dementia. I believe that Collaboration in this area is paramount. Being a mentor has enabled me to help others settle into post-graduate research. Promoting awareness of mental well-being among doctorate students is one of my top priorities, and for me, awareness could be raised through mentoring.

During mentoring, I realised that building relationships with fellow doctorates and participating in conferences is crucial. I also believed that signposting, especially with issues such as contacting the librarians, downloading software and fundamental technical problems such as RefWorks for Word, was helpful to my mentees. The previous extends to issues that may appear simple, such as submitting the RF1/RF2 to the admins. Some emails look similar, making it difficult to remember which one should be used. I have my mentor, who has helped me to follow good practice. I encourage others, including my mentees, to join the mentoring scheme. Many benefits come with it. For example, I have developed my organisational skills and enthusiasm. I can present various issues and topics, such as grieving, grief and sickness, with an awareness of sensitivity.

So, what appears obvious to one is not that obvious to another. I, too, have developed through the mentoring scheme, and I am confident in signposting others. I discovered that mentoring is beneficial for both the mentor and mentee, as well as the University. Above all, being a mentor and mentee has also enabled me to develop empathy,  listening, compassion and communication skills. I used to go around in circles. However, one has to go around in circles sometimes to master that circle and lead others.  Mentoring others has enabled me to become confident and develop leadership.

Anita Chonzi

Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Candidate, PGR Peer Mentor and YCEDE Doctorate Scholars Board Member