Heart for mentoring

05 December 2017 | General NewsCommunity
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Mr Tan (centre) at the FASS Mentorship and Host Welcome Dinner in 2015

NUS Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) alumni Mr Sheldon Wee and Mr Raem Tan have been guiding undergraduates as part of the FASS Mentorship Programme (FMP) for the past few years, finding the experience fulfilling and heartening.

Established in 2006, the programme serves as a platform between FASS undergraduates and alumni, allowing the latter to share their experience and provide career guidance to students. Mr Wee, who graduated from FASS in 2013, returned to help with FMP in 2015.

Mr Wee has mentored four undergraduates to date. He makes a concerted effort to meet them every two months, saying, “I introduce them to industry contacts where possible to help them network and understand the industry from different perspectives.” He feels that mentoring is “fulfilling”, saying, “Mentoring just comes naturally as I learn more and as new people come in.”

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Mr Wee (right) was asked to say a few words by former FASS Dean and current Vice Provost (Graduate Education) Prof Brenda Yeoh at the FASS Mentorship and Host Welcome Dinner in 2015

Mr Wee’s volunteer efforts for the University do not stop with FMP. Soon after graduation, he established volunteer organisation Probocon with fellow FASS graduates Mr Daryl Boey, Mr Jake Ooi and Mr Marcus Pang. Originally meant as a platform to provide FASS graduates with relevant career guidance, Probocon has since expanded to help fresh graduates from various faculties get a head start in their first job. Through Probocon, Mr Wee arranged for FASS graduates working in diverse industries to offer relevant career advice to students from the Faculty. “Many of our FASS juniors don't realise that there are so many places our degrees can take us,” he explained.

To date, Mr Wee believes that the Probocon team has helped some 50 fresh graduates. Their diligent efforts have paid off and they were nominated for President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2017.

Mr Wee clearly has a heart for mentoring. Despite holding a busy job with frequent travels, the father of one makes time for youths in the community too, serving as the Vice Chairman of the Tanjong Pagar Youth Executive Club for the past five years. At work, all the interns who are assigned to his department come under his charge.

Mentoring just comes naturally as I learn more and as new people come in.

Fellow FASS alumnus Mr Tan, who majored in Geography, is working as an arborist. He is a stalwart participant of the Faculty’s “My FASS Family” host programme, having signed up in 2006, one year upon graduation. The host programme sees alumni helping international students to better adapt to the University and to the culture in Singapore. Over the years, Mr Tan had hosted students from various parts of the world, including Indonesia, Japan, Poland and the US. Speaking of the international students, he said, “They were all very interesting and diverse, enriching my own life experience.” Mr Tan even helped one of the students he hosted secure an internship after learning of her interest.

Mr Tan joined FMP in 2016 and was paired with Year 4 Geography students Ashley Wee and Cheryl Lim. He met them twice to offer advice on their modules and career options. “I have recommended internships or even starting their own businesses while they are still young. For me, I find that the future of these students is no longer in one fixed job,” he shared.

Finding mentoring to be a “heartening experience”, Mr Tan shared that he mentors younger colleagues at work as well, adding that they appreciate his experience.

Having had the benefit of serving as a host and mentor, Mr Tan has a tip for students to make the most of the engagement. He suggested that students be less shy when interacting with their mentors as this could help them to discover and tap on their mentors’ many social networks.

This is the fourth article in a series by NUS News profiling young alumni who are sharing considerable time and energy to mentor a new generation of NUS students. The earlier articles in the series include: