Meena is a Student Organiser and mentor for Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) in the School of Medicine & Dentistry.
In this role Meena supports students making the transition from school to university. She runs small group study sessions to help
first years understand complex and challenging topics. Meena has been able to develop new strengths in influencing and negotiating through supporting both participating students and new mentors on the programme.
Leading the PASS programme in Dentistry, Meena has honed her communication skills through working with both staff and students. This leadership experience will be very beneficial in her future career as a dentist.
Meena, PASS mentor:
In my 2nd year of study I became a student mentor for an organisation called PASS. PASS stands for Peer Assisted Study Support – as the name suggests students from all the years help the first year students with their work, help them make a transition from school to university which is quite a huge jump. At PASS we run small group study sessions where we go over lectures and topics that people are finding challenging or are hard to understand.
Possess the skills to influence, negotiate and lead:
I’ve really been able to develop a new skill of influencing other people. A lot of the time what happens is that new mentors find it a bit daunting to stand up in front of all these first year students and talk to them, so I’ve been able to encourage other people; I’ve been able to praise them after they’ve done a good job and been able to influence them, encourage them. There are times when different people want different topics to be discussed so we have to negotiate which topics are more important, which are more right for a certain point in time – there is a lot of negotiation involved as well in the role and this is a skill that I have developed.
Work individually and in collaboration with others:
Now that I’m in my 3rd year I was asked, with another mentor, to become student organisers of PASS and run the PASS sessions for Dentistry. It has been a great role to have and it’s a role of responsibility – we speak to our staff members, the students from various years, our PASS co-ordinators. We’ve had to liaise with a lot of different people again developing lots of good communication skills and negotiation skills, and of course leadership skills. As a Dentist being a leader is a great skill to have.
Explain and argue clearly and concisely:
There are times when people are finding it hard to understand lectures, quite complex lectures. To be able to break them down and give them new ways of learning that lecture and break those barriers which sometimes are stuck in your head – you can actually break that down and you can help them learn. Teaching is a great skill – it’s quite rewarding and it’s quite satisfying.