Coming out of the darkness: Tanzeela’s story

Tanzeela is the first in her family to study at university, having moved here six years ago from Spain. She has just finished her first year studying Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, and has flourished thanks to the support and guidance of her mentor.

   

Why did you choose to take part in 1MM’s mentoring programme?

Before I started my mentoring programme, I didn’t really understand how a mentor and mentee work and wanted to know more. I thought “why not?”- I knew I’d be getting one-to-one support. When I went into it I discovered great things and after completing a year I now see the benefits.

What in particular did you want to get out of it?

All I really wanted was to get some advice about university and the courses which I could do. When I first started the programme I wasn’t sure whether I would like it or not, it was great to match with someone who had experience in the field I was looking to go into (Law) so I could find out what type of things and experience I would need. It was great to have someone who could advise me and make sure that I’m doing alright and reassure me that I was doing well.

“He was a solicitor who worked in court, and I felt as though we related because he was like me, his parents didn’t go to university, he wasn’t that highly educated, didn’t go to private schools and he also struggled with English when he first started.”

What activities did you and your mentor engage in?

He told me about his background, what he and studied and what he did now then I told him my story about how I had come from Spain to the UK, the sort of background I come from where both of my parents didn’t go to university. Then, as the year progressed, he would give his advice and show me the different paths I could take, he guided me a lot.

He was a solicitor who worked in court, and I felt as though we related because he was like me, his parents didn’t go to university, he wasn’t that highly educated, didn’t go to private schools and he also struggled with English when he first started.

How long have you been in the UK?

6 Years. Before, my personality wasn’t showing and I was missing out on opportunities because I wasn’t being me. When I first came to the UK I was insecure about my accent and thought maybe the next person wasn’t going to understand the way I speak. When I came here I was bullied and that brought my confidence down, I was otherwise a very confident person.

It was like I was hiding somewhere but since meeting my mentor it’s like someone has pulled me out from the darkness.

Have you enjoyed your mentoring experience?

Yes, I have. I have gained new experience and I have learnt a lot from my mentor, he has also learnt some new things from me and is getting new views. I have also now started mentoring for a primary school with children who struggle with behaviour and this is thanks to mentoring which inspired me to do it.

What is the best thing about having a mentor?

It gives you a range of opportunities and a chance to do some work experience, for example in August I went to court in Burnley so I could get some experience and see how the court works. It’s great because you have someone to guide and help you, sometimes you might be stuck and can’t think of a solution to your problem but having a mentor helps because you can ask them for their advice. It helps to problem-solve. Mentoring provides you with opportunities and guidance.

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

Yes, I know how hard people worked to get where they are. I now know that it’s best to take every opportunity and be confident; confidence is a very key thing in the professional world.

Do you think mentoring has changed the way you think about local opportunities?

Yes, because now I know it’s best to take every opportunity and develop yourself as a person. If you take opportunities, you have the chance to learn more and if you make mistakes its fine because you can learn from them and it’s better to learn sooner rather than later.

Thanks to my mentor I will work harder and take every opportunity I can.

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

I would tell them to get the most out of it and take whatever advice they give you into account. Make sure that you attend all meetings and ask them whatever you need help with, remember they’re there to help you. Try your best to remember what they say just because it doesn’t apply to you right now that doesn’t mean it can’t help you in later life.

I discovered great things and after completing a year I now see the benefit. It was great to have someone who could advise me and make sure that I’m doing alright and reassure me that I was doing well.