Rachel Osei studied Biomedical Science and graduated in 2022 with a first-class degree. At Essex, she took advantage of every piece of career support that was available – events, workshops, job fairs, and mentoring.

But it was mentoring that left a lasting impact on her time at University.

Rachel on her graduation day wearing a cap and gown.

“My mentor played a pivotal role in shaping my journey. They dedicated time to me, reshaping my perspective and equipping me with invaluable advice that continues to guide my career today. Without their guidance, I would have felt less prepared and more apprehensive about what lay ahead.”

The mentoring programme offered by our Student Development Team allows students to match with professionals based on their industry or background, helping to set the foundation for their next steps before they’ve even finished their degree at Essex. 

Many of our mentors, like Rachel’s, are Essex graduates. It’s ultimately what led her to get back in touch after graduating and finding her feet in her first role to sign herself up to give back the same support she once received.

Rachel’s now working as a Programme Manager at the National Institute for Health and Research Care (NIHR) and previously worked within the NHS as a Research Governance Officer. She has just started mentoring her first student through the scheme.  

“As a former Essex student, I understand the challenges students face - the relentless deadlines and the uncertainty about the future. It's a journey I've walked, and now, as a mentor, I'm driven to bridge that gap between university life and the daunting post-graduate world. 

“Being a mentor allows me to provide tailored support, drawing from my own experiences to empower someone who once stood in my shoes. It's about making a tangible difference in the lives of the next generation, sharing the wealth of wisdom I've accumulated to ensure others feel more assured and confident in their path forward.”

Rachel's advice for students

My foremost advice is to embrace stepping out of your comfort zone. Attend networking events, reach out to others for guidance, and explore various avenues. Don't fear making mistakes; every 'no' is merely a redirection towards the right 'yes'.

Gain practical experience during your academic journey. This could involve taking up part-time employment, joining a society, serving as a student representative, or pursuing internships. Acquiring such experience helps build a portfolio beyond academia, equipping you with a diverse skill set sought after by employers. It not only enhances your candidacy in the job market but also enriches your personal and professional development.

Additionally, take time to introspect on your motivations. Let your passion for your chosen path drive you forward, both during your studies and in your postgraduate endeavours, enabling you to excel in your chosen field. The career support at Essex offered through the Student Development Team is an invaluable resource and their guidance can truly make a difference in shaping your future success.

So, dive into the details, explore the possibilities and pave your path to success.

If you’re a student interested in finding a mentor, contact the Student Development Team. If you’re a graduate who is interested in becoming a mentor, get in touch with the Alumni Team.