“He who asks is a fool for five minutes but he who does not ask is a fool for ever”

(Traditional Chinese Proverb)

The opening weeks of life as a student can be daunting, tiring and exciting. Students are expected to successfully balance a challenging workload with a hectic and eventful social life.

Many students will also be living away from home for the first time and dealing with the day-to-day struggles experienced by students such as home-sickness, making new friends and doing their domestic chores.

Hopefully inshAllah by creating a mentoring scheme support network, older students who have been through the turbulent times of being a first year muslim student, can • • provide invaluable advice, support and general guidance to make not only these first few months but the entire duration of the student’s course more enjoyable, manageable and inspiring.

A mentoring scheme is a form of family, where older students act as guides for new students. They create an informal pastoral care system where students can seek advice without having to access formal university sources, lecturers, clinical staff or other deanery officials, which in itself is a daunting prospect for some students, especially muslim students.

The recent Medical Students Welfare and Education Survey (2007)1 highlighted the need for greater support for medical students. “At least half of respondents did not know whether support services were sufficient at their medical school”. This example can be used to highlight a general need present in general student population and particularly the muslim student population.

Benefits of the Mentoring Scheme • The acquisition of new skills and increased knowledge that can be applied to your own

life and in your personal experience.
• The opportunity to share your learning and experience with a new student. • The development of new perspectives and ideas.

How will I be paired up in a mentoring relationship? GUMSA will administer the Mentoring Scheme and will: • Select pairings.

• Provide support, when assistance is requested and where appropriate.
• Review the mentoriing evaluations at the end of the relationship. The Mentoring Scheme Co-ordinator (Omar for brothers and Aya for sisters) will try to find a suitable match for the relationship based on the information provided on the initial application form, via GUMSA website.

The Mentor should make contact, by telephone or by meeting informally, soon after they have been emailed. The appointed Mentor and mentee should understand the importance of this role and that it will last the entire academic year at least. We hope you make friends though for life.

How much time will I need to give? For the relationship to be a success both buddies needs to demonstrate enthusiasm and a real commitment to benefit from the relationship. Time commitment may vary quite considerably between each individual pairing. Alternatively a mentee may just need to call their mentor with a quick query to clarify an issue, which would clearly take less than an hour. These arrangements should be discussed and decided between yourselves.

What support should I expect? The Mentoring Scheme Co-ordinators will be available to provide you with support at any stage of the mentoring process, although it is important you contact the Co-ordinators directly, should you require any further assistance. You can also e-mail gumsa@hotmail.co.uk at any time.

Turn to the person next to you and ask them: 1. What is your name? 2. Where do you come from?

3. What are you studying?
4. What are your hobbies? 5. What is your favourite pizza topping?