As a Placement Peer Mentor, Laura has shared her placement experiences with students in her department and helped them to prepare for going on placement themselves. Here, she discusses her experiences as a mentor.

"I found it hard to balance my university work and applying for placements, so I hope that as a peer mentor I can make that balance feel a bit easier for my mentees."

- Laura Bland, B.Sc. (hons) Psychology

What made you decide to get involved with the Placement Peer Mentoring scheme?

When you’re applying to placements you have to learn so many new skills, like how to write a cover letter and how to perform in an interview. I wanted to join the scheme so I could support people through that learning process. When I was in second year, I found it hard to balance my university work and applying for placements, so I hope that as a peer mentor I can make that balance feel a bit easier for my mentees.

How would you describe a Peer Support Placement Networking Event to someone who has never been before?

The placement networking event provides an opportunity for students seeking placements to talk to people who have just returned from theirs. The mentors are seated at their own table and students can come and chat to them. Tables rotate every five minutes, so they get a chance to talk to all of the mentors. At the end of the event the student can submit a preference for placement peer mentor or be assigned someone randomly.

It’s a really useful event for students searching for placements. They get the chance to ask questions that their placement officer wouldn’t necessarily have the answer to. They might even find a person who’s done the placement they want to apply for and get their advice on the application process. Applying to placements can be stressful and I think it helps to talk to someone who’s been through it all before. It’s also nice for the mentor because you get to know the students and hear what they’re interested in.

What has been the most positive aspect of being a Placement Peer Mentor?

My favourite thing about being a placement peer mentor is when you talk to someone about the worries they’re having with applying for placements and they come away from that conversation feeling more positive about it.  

Has being a Placement Peer Mentor met your expectations? Or was there something you were not anticipating?

So far it has! I’ve been very nicely surprised by how well the students know what they want to do and how much effort they put into achieving their goal. I remember not really knowing what I wanted to do for my placement (which isn’t a bad thing!) but it’s good to see how excited people are about doing a placement in a field of psychology they’re passionate about.

What skills have you developed /further developed as a result of being a Placement Peer Mentor?

I haven’t been a placement peer mentor for very long but I think that I will develop my communication skills by sharing my placement experiences and by selecting what information is relevant to each student. I think I will learn to manage my time effectively by fitting my role as a peer mentor around my university work.

Why would you encourage others to get involved with the Placement Peer Mentoring scheme?

It’s great to get to know more of the students on your course and it’s nice to feel like your experiences on placement are useful to them. If you enjoy spending time with people and want to help others, I would definitely recommend becoming a placement peer mentor.