Engineering student Fahad Haider, from Bangladesh, graduated in April and is a Mentors@Macquarie team leader, helping new students make the transition to University.
When Fahad Haider first arrived at Macquarie University to study engineering with a major in electronics, he was a ‘mentee’ – a new student who had a mentor to show him around. Now, four years later, he’s gone full circle by being a Mentors@Macquarie team leader, wearing the distinctive blue ‘ask me’ t-shirt.
“I had a mentor in my first semester,” Fahad recalls. “It was very helpful to have someone show me around our massive campus, and someone to talk to right at the beginning.”
As his confidence on campus grew, so did his desire to become more involved at Macquarie and contribute back to the mentorship program which helped him. He joined Mentors@Macquarie last year, and was a team leader this semester before graduating in April. He is now staying in Australia to work as an engineer.
“Mentors@Macquarie run a Peer Mentoring Program and Academic Orientation events designed to support their transition into University life,” Fahad explains. “We help students with understanding the University processes, getting to know the campus and meeting new people.” Mentors need to be empathetic as well as having good communication and team skills.
As a Macquarie mentor, Fahad took new students under his wing at orientation.
“You can see the difference from when the students came in before orientation – all nervous – and after orientation, when they were more relaxed after getting to know the University more and chatting away with their new friends. That was satisfying that we were helping in a big way.”
Throughout the year, Fahad says that he and his fellow mentors caught up with groups of new students they’d mentored at orientation and he was often asked for directions by lost students when wearing his ‘ask me’ t-shirt.
“I was once asked, where is building TBA?” he says.
Recently Fahad and his fellow mentors enjoyed Mentor Recognition Night to highlight their contribution to making the 2014 orientation so successful. For his commitment to Mentors@Macquarie, he and other mentors also received points towards Macquarie’s Global Leadership Program.
“Coming to University is a big step in your life,” Fahad says. “It’s through this that most people pursue their future careers. But life at University is not always smooth, especially at the beginning. This is where mentors play such a vital role – by ensuring that the transition into University is smooth, the mentees (students) can focus on their studies, and be good at whatever they came to be good at Macquarie University. I know we are making a difference and I’m extremely proud to be part of the Mentors@Macquarie team.”
As an international student himself, Fahad knows those first few days can be daunting.
“It’s alright to feel nervous but don’t let that get in the way of talking to people or getting involved in University events,” Fahad advises. “A simple ‘hi’ might be the first step to a long lasting friendship.”
Mentors@Macquarie are available to all new and current students and during semesters are at their help desk in the Library.
The Bachelor of Engineering is a flexible and comprehensive four-year degree that has a strong focus on practical learning.