A Therapeutic Match
The SIT Alumni Mentoring Programme concluded its successful inaugural cycle in March 2021. We catch up with a trio of participants from the Health & Social Sciences cluster to find out how their mentoring journey went
The SIT Alumni Mentoring Programme had a rather rocky start. It launched amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning its participants would mostly only be able to meet virtually, not the most ideal situation for a mentoring relationship. Nevertheless, the programme is currently mid-way through its second cycle – and gaining traction among SITizens.
Among the SITizens who joined the programme looking to learn from each other through their academic and professional experiences are alumni mentor Ms Sharifah Rawiah and her two student mentees, Mr Darren Lim and Mr Marcus Oon.
Sharifah, an Occupational Therapy alumnus, decided to take on the role of a mentor for the first time through this programme. Her interest is in grooming future therapists and sharing real-life experiences about working in the healthcare industry, such as the difference between working in a hospital setting and the social service sector. “Back when I was in school, we could only have such candid conversations with therapists in the workforce during clinical rotations. But that can be stressful as you are being supervised, or you simply may not have the time,” she explained. She also emphasised the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. “Prioritising and managing our time starts from when we are students, and it is good practice as a stepping stone for when we enter the workforce,” she said.
She was matched with Darren and Marcus, both Year 2 students in the Physiotherapy degree programme. Sharifah recalled that the mentees were initially worried that her being in a different discipline would limit the learning experience. However, the difference between the two professions actually helped them better understand the difference and how physiotherapists and occupational therapists work together.
Sharifah has also learned to be a better communicator through her mentor role. “My mentees have very different personalities and I had to be mindful of being adaptable in the way I communicated with each of them. In the beginning, they were both a bit shy and unsure, so I had to do most of the talking. When they became more comfortable, they would ask more questions and we could joke with one another.”
Darren said he was thankful to have a senior open his eyes to the workings of his future career. “My mentor is very nurturing, and I appreciate that apart from academics, she also taught me important soft skills as a Physiotherapist,” he said. “I learned that it is important to identify the professional version of me at work and the personal me at home, so that I can manage my emotions, especially when dealing with critically ill patients.”
Marcus said the programme has given him a deeper understanding of the healthcare industry. “I got to learn more about the different healthcare settings available and whether it would fit my career goals. I found that Intermediate and Long-Term Care is a good fit for me,” he said.
The trio has plans to keep in touch through social media and messaging apps, now that their mentoring cycle has concluded. And it appears that the SIT Alumni Mentoring Programme has found legs beyond SIT: Having been inspired to use her newfound mentoring knowledge, Sharifah has started a mentoring programme at work within her team, where new therapists are paired with seasoned therapists. She also supports them by facilitating reflection sessions throughout their mentoring journey.
The SIT Alumni Mentoring Programme
This is a six-month-long programme bringing together SIT alumni and students to foster personal and professional growth, as well as exchange knowledge and skillsets through mentorship. Organised by the SIT Advancement & Alumni Division and supported by SIT Student Life, the programme’s first cycle was officially launched in September 2020.
A total of 43 Alumni mentors were matched with 52 Student mentees in Cycle 1, where each mentor could choose to take on one or two mentees. The programme will soon be completing its second cycle in August 2021, where 45 mentors were matched with 50 mentees. As many as 10 mentors have joined the programme for the second time since the first cycle.