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The making of a mentor

Meningitis Now Believe & Achieve B&A - Holly - tile box

Lacking confidence and motivation, Holly turned to Meningitis Now to help her get through her first year as a new university student.

Now having found that coaching with us gave her a much-needed fresh perspective, she’s preparing to train as a Believe & Achieve peer mentor to help support others in the way that she herself was supported.

When Holly started at Bristol University in September 2017, she found that one of the things she most struggled with was attending lectures. As someone who needed a radio aid that attaches to her cochlear implants in order to hear properly, she found it very intimidating to walk into a lecture theatre of 200 other students. She found it particular difficult that handing in the radio aid drew the everyone’s attention on to her; on some days, things were so bad she skipped lectures, pushing her learning back. She knew she needed to find a way to gain more confidence to help her cope with these feelings.

Coaching with our B&A team gave her ideas for little ways to change things to give her this confidence and helped her to interact more with others. She started prepping better for her seminars, thought about where to sit in lectures and took ownership of her studies. She became more vocal in seminars and her attendance rate doubled as the result of the coaching.

Even away from university life, Holly has found coaching helpful. She developed skills in combatting negative thoughts and said she has “found more freedom to be myself, thinking about the standards I have for my life and not the standards that other people set me”.

Overall though, Holly said that the biggest impact of coaching was on her motivation – she’s been able to break bad habits, feels stronger, and more independent. She’s also realised that independence doesn’t have to be a scary thing.

Holly will start her training as a B&A peer mentor this year and is looking forward to mentoring someone else with a cochlear implant. And to anyone else considering getting coaching, she certainly recommends it.

“It helps you to think about where you are in terms of your life”, she said. “It’s really helpful if you’re in a rut. In fact, it’s really helpful where ever you are!”.