Although I now have diagnoses of both dyslexia and Asperger’s Syndrome, when I first received mentoring, I had no idea that I was being affected by either of these problems. I initially went for mentoring, because I had difficulties with producing written work and time management; mostly due to the length of time it would take for me to write any of my assignments. It was my university that made all the arrangements for mentoring after I explained my concerns to them.
“My mentor took me to places where social interaction would be unavoidable and increased my exposure to new situations.”
Initially the mentor would come to my home to discuss what steps I could take to help manage my studies. Sometimes he would work with me to establish a rough timetable for my study sessions and check if it was still working for me. Other times, he would talk me through some of the ideas that I had for improving my study and trying to make them managable for my circumstances.
Once I had a good grounding in these aspects, my mentor felt he could be of most use to me by helping me to gain confidence in social situations. Although my Aspeberger’s was still undiagnosed at this point, I was a very shy person, even though I did not knw why. My mentor took me to places where social interaction would be unavoidable and gradually increased my exposure to new situations. One of my best memories of my achievements that my mentor helped me with, was when he took me to a local radio station, where I was part of a panel in a current affairs show. I would never have believed that I could hold my own in a conversation for over an hour, while we broadcast live.
When my mentor left front line work to do more behind the scenes management, he passed my case onto another Mentor. My second mentor continued to work with me on personal development but with a very different approach. Whereas my first mentor had helped me to grow through practical experiences , the second took much more of a reflective approach which involved more discussion of my thoughts and how to make best use of my capabilities. Although I was unsure at the time, this did prove to be for the best as it gave me fresh insights into how to build on my previous improvements.
I feel I have had success with my studies because the guidance I was initially given, enabled me to keep displaying my academic potential. Another large part of my success was the subsequent work done with me to boost my confidence.
Without this confidence, I do not think I could have achieved what I wanted to in my studies.
Even more importantly, study skills development is something that can help me with specific written tasks. But the confidence that my two mentors have helped me develop, will carry me forward for the rest of my life. I could not have become the person I am today, without their help to better myself”.