When I began my master’s programme, as excited as I was to be studying at one of the finest universities in the world, I was also a little apprehensive about making the transition from being an undergraduate student to a full-fledged postgraduate student. I was aware that I would be moving into a more specialised line of study, in the field of organisational and social psychology. Due to this, I sought guidance from my lovely postgraduate programme manager, who assured me that academic mentorship would be provided to all masters’s students to help them settle into postgraduate life.
During Welcome Week, I was matched with my academic mentor, who specialises in well-being research, which is an area that I have been very interested in exploring, particularly for my dissertation. My mentor oversees a group of about 15 students and encourages us to meet with her weekly or fortnightly. In our first group mentoring session, our mentor walked us through our programme, going over important deadlines, and directing us to resources available at LSE LIFE and the Library should we require personalised material to improve our skills as psychologists. She also encouraged us to book online meetings with her via the School’s StudentHub app. During my first one-to-one meeting with my mentor, I mentioned feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of course-related information I was receiving in my first two weeks. My mentor reassured me that this is just standard as the School wants the students to be aware of the breadth of resources and support facilities available to them. She also reminded me that I was only a few days into my programme, and it would take me some time to get used to things and settle into a study routine that suited me best.
After this helpful academic mentoring session, my mentor emailed me and the other mentees directing us to the Academic Mentoring Portal, which contains useful information, key contacts, and other resources available at the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, and LSE in general. This portal also provided me with a list of responsibilities of both the academic mentor and the Academic Mentee, so I was relieved to find that most of my university-related concerns were within the scope of the mentor-mentee relationship.
We also had an excellent opportunity to build a strong relationship with our mentors during the first term where our first assessment was marked by the mentors themselves. This helped me discuss the quality and standard of my work with my mentor in an in-depth manner, where she was able to identify my strengths and areas of improvement and provide me with personalised feedback. For example, through informal discussions, my mentor realised that I had a professional background in cyber security, and encouraged me to improve my formative essay by bringing in personal insights from my previous work to strengthen my argument in my summative essay. Such incidents also helped me realise the strong quality of relationships students get to build at LSE. It is very reassuring and comforting to know that there is an experienced academic supporting you during your master’s journey!
Since then, I have been meeting regularly with my academic mentor. We discuss a wide range of things such as my progress in different courses, academic-style writing, even future career paths and general well-being concerns. These sessions are a good check-in point for me during the week, and help me plan my work and leisure activities better and prevent myself from being caught in a spiral of study-related stress!
Overall, I am very pleased with the academic mentorship I have received from my department, and I feel quite supported and confident as I begin the new term, being assured of knowing key contacts to approach in case I “feel stuck” or just need someone to chat to.