EWB-WITS Speed Mentoring
Inspired by the idea of speed dating. EWB-WITS ushered in the 2017 year with the Speed-mentoring event. Mentors were assigned to certain tables where they would stay for the duration of the event and the students moved around in groups of three/four and settled at each table for three minutes, during which they were able to interact with the industry professionals and each other. At the end of the three minutes, the groups would move on to the next table where a similar procedure would take place but only now they interacted with a different mentor.
The EWB-WITS team invited students from the university to sit and talk to professionals from a multitude of engineering divisions, this event allowed for a platform where students were able to discuss, debate and question professionals about their everyday lives, their various career choices, and reasons for decisions made that enabled them to arrive at that particular point in their career. Speed mentoring also allowed the mentors to inspire, motivate and advise the students. Providing critical comparisons between their expectations and the realities of industry and encouraging them to reach higher frontiers.
At the end of the event the students were given another opportunity to interact with the mentors in a more unhurried atmosphere where they simply spoke, shared a meal and some even exchanging details and promising to keep in contact with the mentors.
Personally, I feel that the event opened up my mind to the plethora of choices I have after the completion of my undergrad. Being a student for the majority of my life I found the “next step” rather daunting, but after speaking to the professionals I found that there are many career options that are not limited to the engineering industry, and that although there are challenges in the South African engineering industry there are also many rewards. I learnt that not all doors will open easily and that sometimes it requires hard work and patience to achieve certain goals. I was encouraged to aspire for greatness in everything I do and that dreams, however big, are not only worth dreaming but also worth working hard for, but most importantly I was inspired to make a change in my community by empowering, inspiring and motivating others.
All in all the event was rather successful with both the students and mentors leaving the event satisfied, and a little less anxious about the future. This event reflected the EWB mission of activating, generating, using and transferring engineering knowledge that benefits humanity and bridges the gap between industry and society.