“Mentoring has helped me become a more confident person, encouraged me to take opportunities and to help me out of my comfort zone”: Ivy’s journey with 1MM

After stumbling across 1MM in her first year of college, Ivy* has gone from strength to strength – from winning a prestigious law competition to securing two work placements. Here we discuss how mentoring has impacted her life.

   

Please can you tell me about yourself?

I’m from Manchester and this is my second academic year at Xaverian college. It’s challenging; it’s a new environment and you have to adapt to it really quickly. You are coming from high school where you were surrounded by teachers, students and you have that support. When you enter college it is overwhelming because of how dependent you were at school.

How did you get involved with 1MM?

I chose to study law but I didn’t exactly know how it all works and I was never interested in law from the beginning. I didn’t know what to do or what was next after college. So a teacher mentioned mentoring to me. And I was like ‘oh wow ok’.

What I can say is that mentoring with 1MM wasn’t planned out. But I am so glad because it’s been a massive help. For example, I did know that I’d have to get work experience but I didn’t know where to look, and my mentor helped me immensely in that area. He helped me find work experience and then introduced me to a company which showcased women in law. I have now completed two placements in the summer. One with JMW the solicitors and the other with Byrom Chambers.

“He helped me find work experience, and even encouraged me to enter a competition with Women in Law. I submitted a piece of writing about the obstacles that people face in the legal industry with a focus on minorities such as women, BAME women, and people of ethnic minority groups.”

Have you enjoyed your mentoring experience?

Yeah. Besides the help and support, it’s about having someone to talk to about the future. My mentor has immense experience, because he’s a solicitor, so having him has been a massive help. He helped me find work experience, and even encouraged me to enter a competition with Women in Law. I submitted a piece of writing about the obstacles that people face in the legal industry with a focus on minorities such as women, BAME women, and people of ethnic minority groups.

What happened once you submitted your entry?

Well, the event was at the Midland Hotel. I had no idea it was going to be that fancy and I was so scared. I was surrounded by barristers so the networking opportunities were all around me. I was sat next to this QC, we were talking, and I asked him if he had work experience for me and he gave me his contact. If you want to succeed in the law and the legal industry, I will need to have connections so attending that event really supported me to step out of my comfort zone and get to know people.

When my mentor asked me if I’d take part in that competition I was initially going to say no because I simply thought I wouldn’t win. I was the youngest in the competition. I was so shocked when I won! My face throughout the whole night I was like ‘are you being serious?’ Even my mum was shocked!

Have you learnt anything different from being mentored?

I wasn’t confident at the start. This mentoring has helped me become a more confident person, encouraged me to take opportunities and to help me out of my comfort zone.

In primary school I used to take part in a lot of competitions and I enjoyed winning. But, at high school I stopped. And that led me to be more enclosed. So, nothing was really going on. I didn’t go out and I didn’t enter competitions. I was just there, kind of. So, having a mentor has helped me a lot.

Do you think mentoring has changed the way you view adults and professionals in your local communities?

Yes, because before I thought that lawyers were, I don’t want to say snobbish… but that was my initial thought! But it turns out they’re normal – they laugh, they joke. They’re human.

What would you say to another young person who is thinking about getting a mentor?

If you’re not organised it’ll benefit you a lot! If you lack confidence, organisation skills… if you are unsure of what you want to pursue later on in life, then mentoring is a safe option.