Stockholm university

Mentorship for community and connection to the working world

The mentorship programme that connects students with alumni is now up and running for the third year in a row. This year, mentor couples from 14 departments are participating.

The departments that choose to participate in the mentorship programme are responsible for recruiting and matching students and alumni. Most choose to match students with alumni from the same discipline. One department that is participating for the first time is the Department of Education (IPD).

– In the mentorship programme, we have chosen to focus on our students who study independent courses in pedagogy and those in our new bachelor's programme in pedagogy and public health science. The breadth of these educational paths are a strength but can also be a challenge. Many people know what they want to do after their studies, or have an idea about it, while others need more guidance because there are so many options. Therefore, it felt good to be able to offer them the opportunity of being paired with wise and driven mentors, says Nikolaj Jacobsen who is a study counsellor at IPD.

Nikolaj and his study counsellor colleague Eva Ahlzén are IPD's coordinators for the mentorship programme. This year, the study and career counsellors at IPD were assigned responsibility to build up an alumni network for the entire department. Participating in the mentorship programme is part of their strategy for building up alumni relations. Their hope is that the programme will build bridges for the students between their education and the working world as well as strengthening the department's collaboration with the rest of the university.

– We are very much looking forward to the feedback that will come from mentors and mentees and believe that this will provide a jumping off point for other activities, creating a stronger community for all parties. We hope to take part in next year's programme as well and expect that even more of our wonderful students and alumni will take the opportunity to participate in this skills-enhancing and fun effort, says Nikolaj.

Nikolaj Jacobsen and Eva Ahlzén
Nikolaj Jacobsen and Eva Ahlzén have matched students with alumni from the Department of Education. Photo: Private, Karin Larsson

Mentorship of even greater value during the pandemic

One of IPD's participating students is Ebba Sidh, who is studying the master's programme in pedagogy. She already has a bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning. Ebba applied to the mentorship programme to get tips and advice from a former student who has experience of similar courses. 

– As a master's student and especially during the pandemic the mentorship programme felt like a given way to go! My hope is to be able to both connect with an alum in working life, but above all to be able to brainstorm ideas and thoughts about choosing a specialisation and master's thesis. When the programme ends in May, my hope is to be both wiser and more confident about future possibilities and possible career tracks.

Ebba Sidh
Ebba Sidh, mentee in this year's mentorship programme. Photo: Isabel Gustavsson Perrona

Rewarding to help a student find their way

In addition to the meetings between mentor and mentee, the mentorship programme includes a number of joint meetings. The meetings are held remotely on Zoom to enable mentors who live in places other than Stockholm to participate.

One such mentor is the alum Rickard Ström who currently lives in Hamburg. He has a doctorate in astroparticle physics and studied his undergraduate and graduate education at Stockholm University. He decided to become a mentor because he wished he had the opportunity to reflect and discuss his studies and personal development with a mentor when he was a student. He also believes that mentoring can be rewarding for him as a mentor.

– I think I can learn something. You can’t say "this is how you should do", but must instead focus on what is best for someone else. If you are going to lead people you can’t be a bulldozer. You have to be reflective and think about what that person needs in order to find their way. My mentee has completely different expectations for his career than I had, and I will try to help him on his journey. It’s a great and important lesson to learn.

Rickard Ström
Rickard Ström, mentor in this year's mentorship programme. Photo: Private

This year's mentorship programme runs between October 2021 and May 2022.
Read more about the Stockholm University Mentorship Programme



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